I am writing this post from a personal perspective. Yesterday was Father’s Day, and this month is Men’s Health Month. Yes men, there’s a month for you too.
My father embodies what it means to be a man of strength. Many consider him to be a “man’s, man.” He loves proving that he’s physically strong and always tries to find ways to show it. However, a few years ago, he kept quiet about what was going on with his very own health and his physical strength was on the decline. Knowing my father, it was because he didn’t want anyone, not even his wife and children, to view him as weak; although, we would never consider him so. On the outside he looked strong, but on the inside, his very heart was trying to kill him.
Though my father waited before visiting his doctor, he found the courage to speak up about how he was feeling, and even told my mother that he felt like something was “off” with his body. Since then, my father has recovered and has made his health, and speaking with his healthcare team, a priority. He gets routine exams, practices medication adherence, and finds ways to be physically active. He boasts whenever he gets a good report from the doctor and is now open to letting us know if he needs to rest.
Many of the health conditions that men are faced with are preventable. Even if you are reading this and you do have a health condition, there are ways for you to manage it. How?
Get Routine Health Exams
- No matter your age, you should have a yearly physical exam. The physical exam is a chance for your doctor to check, and you to know, your blood pressure, A1C, cholesterol, and other health numbers. If you have a chronic health condition, like diabetes for example, make sure that you schedule regular appointments with your healthcare team. Scheduling your physical at the beginning of the year or near your birthday may help you remember to go.
- Get a dental exam every six months. Your oral health is connected to your overall health.
- See an eye doctor. It’s also important to make sure your eyes are healthy. If you are diabetic, you should have a dilated eye exam.
Speak with Your Doctor about Your Concerns
Your doctor is there to help you. Have a list of questions and concerns (medication side effects, issues sleeping, and even stress and anxiety) ready for your doctor. Get a second opinion if needed and look for another doctor if the one you have isn’t right for you.
Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes
You really do have the power to make healthier choices. You can do this by:
- Eating a healthier diet; moderately eating your favorite foods
- Creating an exercise plan and/or increasing your level of physical activity
- Limiting your alcohol consumption
- Quitting smoking
- Practicing stress management
Make Yourself a Priority
Like my father, you may put yourself on the back burner at times. It’s important that you begin to make yourself a priority.
- Schedule time to do something you enjoy
- Set aside a few minutes a day to breathe and gather your thoughts
- Speak to someone you trust
Your physical strength shouldn’t define who you are as a man and being strong doesn’t mean being silent about what’s going on with your health. Make sure you regularly visit your doctor and also speak with them about ANY heath concerns you may have.