For many men, it can be all too easy to put off scheduling that doctor’s appointment or getting a regular annual checkup. Life gets busy, and the to-do list stacks up. Maybe they say, “it’ll be fine — I don’t need it” and carry on, or they put their own needs aside for the sake of loved ones.
But smart maintenance and regular visits with health care professionals can make all the difference between a serious health issue and being able to spend time with the ones they love and do the things they enjoy.
June is Men’s Health Month, and while it’s a great time to talk about issues related to men’s health, it’s an even better opportunity to learn about and develop healthy habits that can continue year-round.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to help get the ball rolling.
See a doctor
Men are less likely than women to schedule a doctor’s visit or set up regular exams, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But establishing a relationship with a primary care provider and getting annual checkups is one of the easiest and most effective steps men can take to stay healthy.
The annual exam allows the primary physician — the quarterback of a person’s health care — to establish a baseline of what someone’s overall health looks like. This will allow the doctor to manage any known health conditions and keep an eye out for diseases and other serious health issues or illnesses that might otherwise go unnoticed. Early detection is key in treating or managing many conditions, and talking with a primary care provider is the most effective way to start.
Be honest and listen
Nobody gets points for being the strong, silent type when it comes to their health. Being open and honest about what’s going on in life gives doctors the best information to help men manage their health.
Then, they need to listen to what the doctor says. Doctors are tuned in to individual patients’ health and the specifics of men’s health and can provide valuable advice for each person’s lifestyle. They’ll know things such as the fact that heart disease and cancer are two of the leading causes of death in American men. Some conditions, such as heart disease and lung cancer, are more common in men while others, including prostate disease, are unique to them and may require separate (and sometimes regular) checkups on their own.
If necessary, doctors will connect patients with specialists.
Practice healthy habits
At the end of the day, it’s up to individuals to manage their health, and no list of health tips would be complete without these two bits of advice:
· Eat a healthy diet.
· Get enough exercise.
Whatever goes into people’s bodies and what they do with it is what they’ll get out of it. Eating a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains while avoiding sugars and processed foods can help prevent many health risks and manage others.
On the same note, the benefits of even a few minutes of exercise every day are numerous. It helps control weight, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, maintains healthy bones and muscles, helps improve mood and mental health, and increases the chances of living a longer life, according to the CDC.
Having health information in one easy-to-access place can make managing it easier. Billings Clinic offers PatientConnect, allowing patients to access their electronic medical records — including test results, information on previous visits, and a calendar of upcoming appointments — and to pay bills online anytime.
With PatientConnect, accessing information is easy and secure, and it lets patients do the following:
· View and print lab results, allergy lists, immunization records, medication lists, health issues, surgeries, and procedures.
· View and print medical notes from health care providers for all visits since July 1, 2011.
· View and print radiology and lab results for all services since June 17, 2014.
· View upcoming appointments.
· Communicate with doctor’s offices by sending secure messages.
· Request prescription renewals through the secure message tool.
Billings Clinic offers a range of health care services for the entire family and can help patients connect with primary care physicians and specialists alike.
For more information on men’s health at Billings Clinic or to make an appointment, call 406-238-2500 or visit BillingsClinic.com/screenings. For more information on PatientConnect, visit BillingsClinic.com/patientconnect.