Men’s Health | Online Exclusives, Feb. 2012

Health Checkups

3 things you should know about your man’s health

Online ExclusiveMen and women are completely different creatures. It can be tough to know what he is thinking and feeling –– especially when it comes to his health.

It would be unfair to say that all men put off seeking medical help, but studies show that, on average, men are more reluctant than women to get regular health checkups or to see a doctor if they feel ill. This reluctance can lead to more serious medical issues if an illness is neglected.

So, what can you do to ensure that a significant other, family member or close friend gets the medical attention they need?

While it’s hard to walk the fine line between nagging and persistence, it is important to encourage men to get regular checkups and watch for new symptoms. Help maintain your loved one’s health with prevention and treatment options for three common medical conditions men may encounter.

Heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States, and the total costs of cardiovascular disease in the U.S. in 2010 were estimated to be $444 billion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Online ExclusiveEven though genetics may increase a man’s risk to develop the disease, there are things he can do to reduce his risk. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and refraining from or quitting smoking are essential. Try suggesting that you both workout together, either before or after work. You can also learn how to cook healthy meals together, and take turns packing heart-healthy lunches. Know your numbers to help manage blood pressure and cholesterol.

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, other than skin cancer, and one in six men will get it during his lifetime. However, it’s also very treatable. Five-year survival rates for localized prostate cancer are near 100 percent.

The American Cancer Society recommends that men start discussing screenings with their health care provider at age 50 for those who are at an average risk of developing prostate cancer, or age 40 to 45 if they are at higher risk. Screenings include a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal exam (DRE).

Treatment for prostate cancer can range from radiation or hormone therapy to surgical removal. Proton radiation therapy is another form of external beam radiation offered at IU Health Proton Therapy, one of only nine centers in the country.

Sleep apnea

Online ExclusivesThis is one disorder that could affect you both, particularly if your spouse’s loud snoring makes it harder for you to sleep. But sleep apnea is a serious condition: without treatment, it can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, or even depression.

People with sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly as they sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association. Because it can be a serious health condition, encourage your spouse to visit a doctor and take a sleep study.

Getting your man to pay attention to his health doesn’t have to be a struggle. With reliable information about men’s health and a commitment to helping your spouse improve his health, you can both look forward to a healthier future.

Sharmin T.M. Kent is a writer who lives with her husband on the north side of Indianapolis. This article reminds her that both she and her husband should get around to scheduling physicals with their family doctor.

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