Welcome to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health. June is Men’s Health Month. Not many people know this, because men’s health usually gets ignored. That is why I am dedicating this week’s Note to MEN and their HEALTH.
I’ve been involved with an organization called Men’s Health Network for many years. Their mission is to bring awareness to Men’s Health, which is so important! You will understand why later on in this Note.
The Men’s Health Network has FOUR pillars they want men to know about:
In my opinion, the breakdown of the family unit (i.e absent fathers) is responsible for a lot of the crime, drug abuse, gangs, mass shootings, suicides, poverty, etc. that we are seeing on the news and/or reading in the papers. Men need to be more present in the family unit, ”step up to the plate”, take responsibility, and not depend so much on women to do all the work of raising our children.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s get back to Men’s Health.
Men and Healthcare
As an older man myself, I can tell you a lot about men’s health simply from experience.
Most of the time, men don’t take their healthcare seriously. They ignore it (i.e. screenings). Men need to “step up to the plate” in this area, and here’s why.
Men die younger than women and live less healthier lives. Men are more likely to die in 9 of the top 10 causes of death. The only exception where women would die more often is Dementia.
Men tend to ignore the importance of screenings for:
- Heart Disease
- Colon Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
Since Covid-19, we’ve seen a dramatic decline in management of chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and prostate issues. We’ve seen a dramatic increase in substance abuse, mental health issues, and opiate related deaths. Note: opiate related deaths are 4 times higher in males than females!
The overall decline of men’s health in this country is putting a burden on society. We need to address this. Go to menshealthnetwork.org for more information on this topic.
When I have a man come in to see me for Low T, one of my areas of expertise, I always run a Cleveland Heart Panel on them, because I want to look at their overall health. We don’t just look at their testosterone level and put them on testosterone replacement. I want to talk about the other things. A lot of times having low testosterone is a signal for having heart disease, so I always screen for that.
As men get older they need their hormones checked. Women know this, but most men don’t. They get fatter and weaker. They get more irritable and don’t sleep well. They hurt more. For men, hormones are simple. We only have one sex hormone that we really need to worry about and that’s testosterone. Women have four hormones they need to worry about, and they cycle depending on the time of the month. It is much simpler for men to get help.
There’s a lot of misconceptions about testosterone. Every man should start having their testosterone level checked at least by the age of 40 (earlier if they start feeling bad). I see a lot of men in their late twenties, early thirties that may work shift work, are stressed out, not sleeping, or have other health issues and have really low testosterone levels. I talk about this all the time.
Testosterone is what makes men…men. Men are getting weaker in body and spirit. They need testosterone. Testosterone is safe. It doesn’t make men more aggressive (unless they’re taking overdoses of it). Actually, testosterone calms men down. It helps them sleep better, hurt less, and have a better attitude. It helps keep them healthy in their brain, heart, muscles, and bones.
Testosterone does not cause heart disease or prostate cancer. You need to monitor things and know what you’re doing with hormone replacement like testosterone. Is it converting to estrogen? Is it bumping up your hematocrit levels? You need to follow all of that. And you don’t want just a “normal” testosterone level. You want an optimal testosterone level. I don’t accept the fact that you’re getting older and you’re going to have a low testosterone level. That’s not acceptable. You want to optimize everything in your life, because we’re living longer.
You want to live healthier. It’s the healthspan you’re interested in, not lifespan. So get your levels checked, along with your lipids, hemoglobin A1C, blood sugar levels, PSA, inflammatory markers, and your vitamin levels. In short, you need a Cleveland Heart Panel. It covers all of this.
Note: In 35 years of practice there’s one prescription medicine that I’ve prescribed through the years that is the most life changing medicine for men, and that’s testosterone.
Men and Relationships
At Performance Medicine I’ve always emphasized FOUR things for staying healthy:
- Hormone Balance
I want to add a fifth. It’s what I was talking about earlier in this Note…FAMILY.
Men need to address family. I’m talking about relationships in, and support of…FAMILY. Men need this, where women just have it. Women are much better at forming social networks. I think that’s one reason they are healthier. Humans are social creatures. Think of the family as a team effort. It takes all of us. This is another area that men need to “step it up”.
To the women (who usually take responsibility for the health of the family), PLEASE get the men you love to see their doctor. If you have a husband or a boyfriend, a family member, or just a friend who is a male, please talk to them about getting their physicals and screenings.
I really do believe we’re falling way behind in this country in men’s health. As men, we need to “step it up” and take care of ourselves. Let’s celebrate MEN this month by bringing awareness to their HEALTH.