Since June celebrates Father’s Day, we focus on the men who typically put aside their health to care for their loved ones first. These men are the ones who push aside routine screens, eye appointments, etc., due to time, demands of family, and work. The same men also seek help and advice when a problem arises and can no longer be ignored. We all know at least one of these men in our lives and identify them as a Father, Brother, Uncle, or even Son.
While men are traditionally focused on caring for their families, they should also be concerned with caring for themselves. One of the best analogies I have ever heard involves a plane in an emergency. The most important part of the analogy is taking care of yourself and placing on your oxygen mask before being able to take care of the others in your party. Life is much like that! Those men in our lives need to take care of themselves before trying to care for everyone else.
What does that look like for most men? It means focusing on more preventive measures concerning their metabolic health, i.e., blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol levels, BMI, etc., and cancer risk, including skin, prostate, and colon, among a few. Most importantly, mental health, including anxiety and depression, should be closely monitored. Many of these issues are interconnected, and treating Blood Pressure without addressing severe anxiety will not solve the problem. There are also ways that family members can help keep our loved ones on track.
It is recommended that men obtain annual examinations, work on diet and nutrition, regulate exercise programs, and keep recommended screening protocols up to date. Family members can help by encouraging an early morning or evening walk/run to spend quality time with our loved ones, helping to make healthy choices when planning meals, and helping with reminders for yearly or planned screening visits. We can also treat our loved ones to or recommend regular massages or facial appointments to help reduce stress and renew our loved ones for the week ahead.
When considering the younger men in our lives, we should encourage our golfers and athletes to use an SPF 50 or higher regularly to help prevent skin cancer. We should also encourage diligence regarding bowels and regular screening, as there is an increase in colon cancer in younger male patients. Researchers are trying to determine why, but colonoscopy recommendations for screening have been adjusted to 45 years old for those with average or low risk. Especially since colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, keeping current on screening, primary prevention, and alertness to symptoms will keep men healthier in their later years.
So for those of us who can identify and appreciate the hard-working men in our lives, these are just a few ways we can help care for them and show them how important they are to us!