Men’s Health: Don’t delay care

Sandra ClarkOur Town Health

For adults who have delayed preventive care due to COVID-19, physicians in your community want you to know it’s safe to seek care, including your annual physical.

James Howell, DO, has practiced medicine at FamilyCare Specialists since 2016. While in-person visits remain an option, FamilyCare Specialists also offers telemedicine visits to patients who do not want to come to the office.

James Howell DO

“I believe that both Covenant Health and FamilyCare Specialists are doing everything medically possible to help keep our patients and staff safe,” Dr. Howell said. Telemedicine visits are also offered at other Covenant Medical Group physician practices.

Dr. Howell recommends a physical every year for those who are 18 and older. He suggests scheduling this yearly exam near one’s birthday to make it easier to remember. The exam includes checking for hypertension, or high blood pressure, as this can affect any age.

Men with diabetes, hypertension and those who smoke are at a higher risk for hyperlipidemia, a condition indicating high levels of fat particles (lipids) in the blood. Hyperlipidemia does not cause symptoms but the lipids can restrict blood flow, leading to higher risk of heart attack and stroke. The screening with a lipid profile blood test may be done as early as age 25 and is recommended every five years for adults.

Preventive Screenings for Men

Age 40: Beginning at age 40, men may be screened for Type 2 diabetes with a blood test. Those at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes typically have a history of hyperlipidemia or hypertension and a BMI (body mass index) of more than 25.

Age 50: To check for colorectal cancer, doctors recommend a colonoscopy screening every 10 years starting at age 50 for average-risk patients. Men should also receive the shingles vaccine at age 50. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men, second only to skin cancer. Prostate cancer screenings are recommended annually for men who are age 50 and older. The PSA blood test measures the level of prostate-specific antigen in your blood.

Age 65: Lung cancer screenings may be prescribed for men ages 55-74 who have quit smoking in the last 15 years or who smoked an average of 30 packs of cigarettes per year. A low-dose CT scan may reveal any underlying lung issues as a result of smoking. An abdominal aortic aneurysm screening may be recommended for men ages 65 to 75 if they have ever smoked. This screening is done with a one‐time ultrasound.

Stay Healthy – Prevent Future Issues

For overall general good health, Dr. Howell recommends a daily multivitamin and an annual influenza vaccine to prevent flu.

For adults facing high cholesterol and diabetes, he recommends 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day and limiting daily caloric intake to 2,000 calories per day. “For a balanced, heart-healthy diet. I also recommend avoiding fatty foods, fried foods, excess sweets and sodas whenever possible.

“The worst thing you can do to your body is smoke cigarettes,” Dr. Howell said. “Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and death in The United States. So, don’t smoke, and if you do smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to help you quit.”

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath or fever, contact your healthcare provider. If these symptoms are severe and require emergency treatment, call the hospital emergency department before you arrive so the care team can be prepared to assist you.

Remember, if you are faced with a life-threatening emergency, do not delay care. Call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department.

Information provided by the public relations department of Covenant Health.

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