Every June, we celebrate the fathers and father figures in our lives. What better way to celebrate them than by making sure they stay as healthy as possible? June is also Men’s Health Month, and we caught up with these Brookwood Baptist Health physicians to bring the men in your life the info they need to stick around.
Why Men’s Health Matters
When I was a teenager, I was out of town with my mom when we got a call from my dad. A few minutes into the conversation, he casually mentioned that he had slipped while fixing some floors earlier and gotten a “small injury.”
I’ll spare you the gory details, but let’s just say that little scratch required more than a few stitches—which my dad learned after driving himself down to the emergency room.
I can think of plenty more instances involving my father and other men in my life where they would suffer through pretty much anything to avoid going to the doctor. Many of those instances were injuries—going to the doctor for a checkup? Forget it.
Convincing our fathers, brothers, partners, friends, etc. to be proactive about their health can be an uphill battle. That’s why Brookwood Baptist Health helped us break out the big guns.
We caught up with male physicians from several of their Birmingham locations to ask their best advice when it comes to men’s health. Check out what they had to say, and be sure to share it with someone you love this month.
The Biggest Risks
The first question I had was what actually poses the biggest threat when it comes to men’s health as a whole. Here were the main issues the doctors discussed:
- Cardiovascular disease was the first thing they all mentioned. Read about one local heart patient’s story here.
- Prostate cancer was also a very common thread.
- High blood pressure can be a symptom of bigger issues, but it can also cause plenty of problems on its own.
- Stroke. Read more about symptoms + intervention here.
- Diabetes, which is quite common in Jefferson County.
“As you really dissect men’s health, you’re talking about a lot of things. Men’s mental health, cardiovascular health, sexual health, prostate health—you’re talking about all of that.”Dr. Vincent Michael Bivins, Chairman, Department of Surgery, Princeton Baptist Medical Center
Men + Medicine
According to the research, men are less likely to seek out medical attention than women. Although it’s unclear what factors influence this gap, all the physicians I spoke with confirmed its truth.
“Men are hesitant and just more cavalier overall about their health. I don’t know if it’s a fear or what the exact reasoning is behind it, but we certainly do see it.”Dr. Austin Lutz, Urologist, Brookwood Baptist Medical Center
Although men statistically face more health issues than women, they spend less time and money on their health as a whole.
“Attitude towards health by men is not as serious as it is in women. Men go to the doctor less… They tend to think if they’re working and productive, they feel healthy, and that may not always be the case.”Dr. Jarvis E. Patton Jr., Assistant Medical Director, Emergency Department, Princeton Baptist Medical Center
How to Stay Healthy
Alright, so that’s a big topic to cover. Staying healthy can involve a whole lot of actions, and it really is an ongoing process. I asked each physician to walk me through the basics of what men can do right now to benefit their health.
We’ve all heard it a thousand times, but diet and exercise are the absolute most influential things you can do for your health. It affects every aspect of your body and its function.
“You have to understand that health a lifestyle. Once you start building good habits and you’re incorporating it into your life… it becomes easier to maintain.”Dr. Jarvis E. Patton Jr., Assistant Medical Director, Emergency Department, Princeton Baptist Medical Center
Instead of diving into the details, they recommended the resources from the American Heart Association:
- Read all about healthy eating here.
- Get lifestyle recommendations here, including stress management, sleep and more.
- Check out fitness recommendations here and learn all kinds of ways to get moving.
Tests + Checkups
I know, I know. It can seem odd to go have tests done when you feel just fine. However, some of the health issues that are more common in men, such as pancreatic cancer, often reach advanced stages before any symptoms begin to appear.
“It’s easier to take care of problems when you pick them up in screenings.
It’s better to fix a car when it’s leaking a little oil than when the whole engine is falling out.”Dr. Vincent Michael Bivins, Chairman, Department of Surgery, Princeton Baptist Medical Center
All of the main recommendations from these specialists were things your primary care practitioner can check for during a normal workup. They also keep you on schedule with screenings for important factors such as cholesterol + blood pressure, prostate, colon and other cancers, glucose levels and more.
Staying up to date with your screenings and tests can mean catching something while it’s still treatable. Be sure to seek out the best when it comes to your care.
To find more health + wellness advice from world-class experts here in our Magic City, sign up for BBH’s monthly newsletter right here.