A men’s health checklist for dads this Father’s Day

June 18, 2021

Healthcare Purchasing News wishes all you fathers a wonderful and healthy weekend. We found this brief checklist and decided to share as a reminder for staying healthy.

As it is found that men put their health last, this Father’s Day, it might be time to focus on the gift of health for dads, addressed an article for Penn State News.

In a 2019 study of more than 1,100 men conducted by the Cleveland Clinic, 65% of respondents said they avoided going to the doctor as long as possible, and 72% said they’d rather do chores like mowing the lawn instead.

“Men tend to take care of their cars more frequently than they do themselves,” said Dr. Eldra Daniels, a family medicine and primary care sports medicine physician who sees patients at Penn State Health Medical Group — Mount Joy and Penn State Health Lime Spring Outpatient Center. “But when men wait to see the doctor once their ‘check engine’ light comes on, they suffer major health problems that could’ve been prevented.”

Those problems include heart attacks—which are twice as common in men than women—and strokes, which can have life-changing consequences. “The damage from a stroke can leave you with an inability to walk, talk or perform previously enjoyable activities,” said Daniels, “Approximately 80% of strokes are preventable by making healthy lifestyle changes and seeing a health care specialist who can screen for diseases that cause strokes.”

To keep dad healthy, Daniels recommends men take these steps:

• Get a physical exam. Daniels recommends men ages 30 to 50 get a physical every two to three years, while men 50 and older should have an annual physical examination. All health insurers cover these wellness exams, which will help men know their body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels. Men can also discuss their diet with their physician and get tips for healthy eating habits that, for example, may reduce cholesterol and heart risk. During the exam, men should ask their doctors which screenings might be right for them, including screenings for men’s health conditions like prostate cancer. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends that men get colonoscopies—tests that check for signs of colon cancer—starting at age 45.

• Stop smoking. Tobacco use is linked to higher risks for heart attack, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. Men ages 50 to 80 who currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years may benefit from a lung cancer screening, performed with a low-dose CT scan.

• Get active. “Regular exercise can reduce your risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease and multiple other diseases,” Daniels said. For dads who haven’t been active in a while, Daniels recommends starting with an activity they enjoy—biking, walking, running. “But don’t immediately start with a daily two-mile run,” he said. Instead, begin gradually and work up to longer distances.

How to start the conversation

Daniels recommends using questions like, “How are you feeling health-wise?” As the talk continues, emphasize the reasons why dad should watch his health ─ most importantly, staying healthy for his children or grandchildren.

Penn State News has the article.