June is Men’s Health Month and, to celebrate, we’ll be delivering men’s health-related content for the entire month. Oftentimes, men’s health isn’t prioritized in the same way as women’s health. We want to change that.
Men, here are some ways to take better care of your health starting today.
Find a Doctor
Men, if you don’t have a doctor already, it’s time to find one. The doctor that you saw 6 years ago when you needed stitches doesn’t count. We’re talking about a doctor who you see at least once a year, who knows your medical history and is helping you keep an eye out for some common health conditions that impact men.
If you’re wondering how to find a doctor, we’re here to help.
Step 1: Determine which doctors are “in-network”. If you have health insurance, you’ll want to make sure that you visit a doctor’s office that accepts your specific type of insurance. Most health insurance plans have negotiated special discounted rates that you want to make sure you take advantage of. This will ensure you pay less out-of-pocket for visits.
To find a list of in-network doctors and hospitals, search the provider directory on your insurance’s website.
If you don’t have health insurance, you’ll want to find a low-cost health care option. At Community Access Network, our reduced fee program may be able to help.
Step 2: Once you have a list of doctors who are either in-network or offer a low-cost health care option, you should then narrow down that list based on your health needs. As an adult, you’ll want to look for a provider who falls under one of three categories:
- Family Practice
- Internal Medicine
- General Practice
Step 3: Ask around for advice. Ask your friends or colleagues who they see for their primary medical care. You may feel more comfortable visiting a doctor that comes recommended by someone you trust.
Step 4: You can never really know if you’ve found the right doctor for you until you’ve visited him or her. Schedule an intake appointment to talk with the doctor about any medications you’re taking, your medical history and any issues you may have noticed.
While you’re at your appointment, consider a few factors:
- How is their demeanor or personality? Does it match with yours?
- How’s the front office staff and what is the check-in process like? Is it efficient?
- How far in advance did you need to schedule an appointment? Do they take walk-ins?
- Do you feel comfortable sharing personal health details with the doctor?
All of these factors can help you find the right doctor.
As a man, there are certain health milestones that you should be aware of. For example, you should know when you should start thinking about your prostate and colon health, and scheduling routine check-ups for both.
It’s important to get informed and stay on-top of your health, rather than seeing an issue and self-diagnosing the problem.
Tests that every man should have performed routinely include:
- Blood Pressure (all ages, annually)
- Cholesterol (35+, annually)
- Colorectal Cancer (50+, annually)
- Prostate Cancer (45+, annually)
- Diabetes (annually if at risk)
- Skin Cancer (all ages, annually)
- Testicular Cancer (20+, annually)
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (all ages, annually and if sexually active)
Of course, if you notice anything out of the ordinary with your health outside of your annual appointment, call your doctor and ask for an appointment.
There’s nothing heroic about a burnt out dad or an overworked employee. No matter what age you are or what stage of life you’re in, sleep can be your greatest ally. It’s recommended that you get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. While some people can function on as few as 6, do your best to work in as much sleep as you can.
Here’s a breakdown, by age, of how much sleep you should be getting:
- Teenagers (ages 14 to 17) – 8 to 10 hours per day
- Adults – 7 to 9 hours per day
- Older adults (ages 65+) – 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day
Take Care of Your Mental Health
Both men and women should be prioritizing their mental health. In the United States alone, it’s estimated that 6 million men are affected by depression each year. Moreover, approximately 3 million men struggle with anxiety. Men make up over 75 percent of suicide victims in the United States.
It’s important to ask yourself questions about your overall mental health on a regular basis:
- How are your boundaries with alcohol?
- Are you noticing any signs of depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder?
- Are you allowing yourself enough mental space throughout the day to decompress, unwind or process the day?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with men talking about their mental health. Furthermore, it is not failure if you have depression, anxiety or a substance use disorder.
Find a group of men who are reliable and can act as each other’s accountability in dealing with difficult issues in a healthy way. Talk with your doctor about your mental health and your coping strategies. Look for a counselor or therapist who you can meet with routinely. Even if you “don’t think you have anything to talk with a therapist about”, just having an impartial party to bounce things off of can do wonders for your mental health.
Take Better Care of Your Health
At Community Access Network, our team of providers and healthcare professionals are knowledgeable, honest and ready to help you take better care of your health. Schedule an annual physical with us today, or simply walk-in if you’re experiencing an issue.