Prevention key to men’s health

By Tamera ManzanarescIMG_2550

When it comes to living well and living long, statistics are not in men’s favor. On average, men die about five years sooner than women and have higher death rates for most leading causes of death including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and suicide. Men’s Health Month in June heightens awareness of preventable health problems and encourages early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.

Important factors influencing men’s health include a lack of health insurance and too few visits to medical providers for checkups and health screenings (women are 100 percent more likely to visit a healthcare provider for annual exams and disease screenings).

Northwest Colorado Health – formerly Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association – offers affordable primary care and preventative health services to help men gauge their health and make changes to avoid illness and improve their short and long term health. Services are available on a sliding fee scale for individuals who don’t have insurance. All services are available in Spanish.

Physical exams. Regular physical exams are important opportunities to keep tabs on your health and discuss any concerns with a healthcare provider. Age, family history, lifestyle and other factors can put men more at risk for some health conditions. A provider may recommend further health screenings aimed at catching problems such as colon cancer, prostate cancer or sexually transmitted infections early, when they are most treatable. Men 39 and younger should get a physical exam every three years; men 40 to 49 every two years; and men 50 and older should get annual physical exams. Exams are offered on a sliding fee scale based on income for uninsured patients. To make an appointment, call 970-879-1632 in Steamboat Springs or 970-824-8233 in Craig.

Behavioral Health Care. Depression and other behavioral health conditions such as anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder often go undiagnosed in men, who are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. Emotional and behavioral health can be complex and often is tied to other health problems. Our healthcare team includes a clinical psychologist who helps patients struggling with issues such stress, sadness, substance use, sleep problems and weight management, affecting their overall health.

Cardiovascular and diabetes screenings. High blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels are a major risk factor for heart attacks. Cardiovascular screenings involve a blood pressure check and simple finger prick. Within 20 minutes patients learn their cholesterol panel – LDL (“bad” cholesterol), HDL (“good” cholesterol) and triglyceride levels. The test also reveals a person’s blood glucose level, a good indicator of diabetes risk. Community Health Educators conducting the screenings explain the results and discuss with clients how to improve their heart disease risk. Screenings are free and are available by appointment. Drop in screening events also are held in the community. If you’d like to make an appointment or are interested in hosting a screening for employees or the community at your business, call 970-871-7634 in Steamboat Springs or 970-870-4118 in Craig.

Learn more about men’s health topics.

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