Sponsored by University Health Partners of Hawaii & John A. Burns School of Medicine
June is men’s health month, and while it’s generally considered a stereotype that men are notorious for not seeing doctors, there’s some truth to the statement! 40 percent of men in their 40’s have never had a cholesterol test and one third of men don’t get an annual checkup. HI Now host Kanoe Gibson is with Dr. Neal Palafox to find out what things men should focus on when it comes to their health.
Dr. Palafox is a professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at the John A. Burns School of Medicine, a professor of Cancer Prevention and Control at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and a Family Medicine Physician at University Health Partners of Hawaii. He explains that unlike the majority of women who have regular checks with their physicians, men often believe that if you “feel fine,” there’s no reason to go to the doctor.
Dr. Palafox stresses that many illnesses, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, are silent and are without symptoms in early stages. If there are symptoms, like pain, frequent urination, or difficulty breathing, men tend wait for symptoms to go away, or wait until the symptoms are advanced or unbearable. He explains that when it comes to medicine, prevention and early intervention is key. “It is important for everyone, men included, to have regular doctor visits, screenings, and seek medical attention earlier rather than later.”
Heart Disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer are all linked to obesity. Dr. Palafox stresses that if you’re a male, your fat distribution will typically be around your abdomen, called central obesity. Central obesity puts you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and stroke because of the type of fat that it is.
There are a lot of things men can do in order to be proactive about their health. Dr. Palafox recommends taking these steps:
1) Eat healthier – more fiber, more greens, less trans fats and a minimum of 20 – 30 minutes of daily exercise. Healthy fats have been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol. Avoiding trans fats from junk foods and fried foods also reduces the risk of heart disease
2) Drinking in moderation – a max of 2 drinks daily is recommended. Excessive alcohol consumption can interfere with sleep and hormone levels, and cause liver disease and some types of stroke.
3) Routine visits to the doctor. Doctors can help prevent, detect, treat or manage potential illnesses or disease. Set an example for your son, brother, and father and take charge of your health early!