June is Men’s Health Month: Time to take charge of your health

AdventHealth notes that there are some differences between how men and women approach personal wellness.

By AdventHealth

Many of us know the basic tips it takes to stay healthy: eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, get at least 120 to 150 minutes of aerobic exercise weekly, sleep well, don’t use tobacco products, limit your alcohol consumption, and know your health risks. However, there are some differences between how men and women approach personal wellness.

Kirsten Lampe, PA-C, is a physician assistant with AdventHealth Medical Group Primary Care at South Overland Park and provides some great tips about how men can stay healthy throughout the year.

According to Lampe, an important first step is staying up-to-date on health screenings and disease prevention by seeing your health care provider annually. Do you have a primary care provider? If not, get established with one now. Regardless of age, everyone should have regular wellness visits.

“I would encourage men to find a health care provider with whom they feel comfortable sharing their story,” said Lampe. “The more willing you are to share your health history and goals, the more able a provider will be to assist you in meeting those goals and improving your health risks.”

Once you have found a provider who’s a good fit for you, don’t hold back sharing your health concerns. Remember, there’s a high chance your physician has treated many others with the same concern.

To effectively share information with your provider, it’s important to know your family medical history. Lampe finds that men often don’t know their medical history, which is critical information she needs to identify a person’s risks and help improve their health.

“Our genetics greatly influence our overall health,” said Lampe. “If you can, it is important to openly speak with your family members about their past and current health issues. Make sure to get specifics. Write it down, keep it somewhere safe and share it with your children and health care provider.”

Before you leave your appointment, don’t forget to schedule your next physical exam. It’s never too far out to schedule and many offices will send reminders to help keep you on track.

Another important aspect of staying healthy is addressing mental health, which is just as important as physical health. According to Lampe, men often hide their emotions in part due to society and cultural norms.

“It is alarming how many men feel ashamed to seek medical help when they are struggling with thoughts of sadness, depression, hopelessness, anxiousness or worry,” said Lampe. “Never feel ashamed about having these thoughts, but instead be open about it. I often relate it to a broken car. If you have a broken car, you take it to the automotive repair shop to get it fixed. We as individuals should use this same logic with our mental health.”

Our mental health is also greatly influenced by sleep habits. Speak with your physician if you are sleeping less than seven hours per night and feel fatigued when you wake. Not only does lack of sleep negatively affect our emotions, but your insomnia could be due to an underlying illness.

If you are looking for a primary care provider, visit AdventHealthKC.com/PrimaryCare to find an AdventHealth physician who’s right for you.