Health Tips Tuesday: Men’s Health Awareness Month

June is Men’s Health Awareness Month (Sponsored by TommyCar Auto Group)
Published: Jun. 20, 2023 at 9:24 AM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - June is Men’s Health Awareness Month and Dr. Andrew Balder, the internist at Baystate Health’s Mason Square Health Center, spoke to Western Mass News to discuss health concerns that men can face.

Why is it so important to draw special attention to men and their health?

Balder: “Well, historically, men are a little bit less engaged in their health and health care than women. I hate to say it, but it’s true and we know that most, not all but most of the major morbidities and causes of death, are more prevalent and more severe in men, so the more that we start taking care of ourselves in general as well as in the medical setting, the better off we’ll be.”

Are there things specifically that men should be paying extra attention to in regards to their health?

Balder: “Yes, there are and some of it goes to lifestyle, but let me skip to the diseases and problems that we see…The major causes of morbidity and mortality in this country in the mid to later adult age group are cancer, injuries, and then respiratory disease and unfortunately, these are all more prevalent in men, so paying attention to ourselves and our health means relaxation, exercise, watching the diet, and dealing with some of the health habits that cause so much trouble to people in this country, particularly smoking and drinking.”

What were some of the things that men specifically should be paying attention to?

Balder: “Oh, men should be paying attention to their blood pressure…You know, getting it checked once a year is a good thing and not just once, but twice…if the first number is funny. Cholesterol levels seem to go along with cardiac disease, that they’re important. Appropriate cancer screenings and the ages for cancer screenings are decreasing at this point, so the recommendations are dropping down to age 45 in general for colon, probably age 50, and even lower for some men at higher risk of prostate cancer and we could go on with more of these, but we really should pay attention to smoking, drinking, healthy eating, eating better diets, more plant-based, and our relationships with other people, which are protective for all of us.”

If you could send one message to the men that are watching and they want to make sure that their health is a priority, what would that message be?

Balder: “Well, number one, if you haven’t had your checkup in the last, depending on your age, one to five years, the younger you are, the larger spacing, the older you are, the narrower the spacing, please get one. Don’t be afraid of the results, although we all are, but it is worth getting a good check-in with your healthcare nurse practitioner, doctor, physician assistant, in an office setting, not just in an emergency setting, so pay attention to that. I saw the picture of the gentleman eating a salad. I love it and pay attention to the habit part of things and then, as I said, connect with others in a supportive way.