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Keeping your health and wellness a priority

By Hang Park, MD  |  6/21/2019

Today's men have a lot of responsibility surrounding their jobs, families and communities. As a result, they may push aside their own health needs. It is vitally important for men to take care of their health to prevent complications from uncontrolled chronic illnesses. The first step is to establish a relationship with a primary care doctor and visit them regularly.

A primary care doctor helps patients better manage their health, provides education on age-appropriate preventative care and offers medical advice based on the latest evidence-based guidelines.

The leading cause of death in men is heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Uncontrolled hypertension, cholesterol levels, diabetes and obesity contribute to its development. Managing this and other chronic illnesses a lifelong process and why men should partner with their primary care doctor to monitor their health.

When I meet with patients, I discuss their lifestyle before creating a care plan and recommending medications. I recently saw a male patient to review his blood work, which showed high cholesterol levels. He enjoys eating out and mentioned he does not monitor sodium levels in his diet. He is overweight, has high blood pressure and was diagnosed with prediabetes, which means there is an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. He is also overdue for his annual colon cancer screening.

This patient's greatest concern is his inability to exercise regularly, as he complains of fatigue and tiredness after a day of busy work. I encounter similar stories each day, and it is important for men to maintain healthy lifestyles by staying active, walking at least 30 minutes a day, sleeping for seven to eight hours a night and refraining from smoking and drinking excessive alcohol. Steps like this can help keep the heart healthy and reduce stress.

Please do not ignore an unpleasant symptom or pain that does not go away. Check with your primary care doctor for appropriate diagnostic testing and treatment. Timely evaluation and treatment saves lives.

Dr. Hang Park is an internal medicine physician with Health Quest Medical Practice in Hopewell Junction, NY. To schedule an appointment, call HQMP-Connect at 1-888-525-HQMP (4767) (TTY: 800-421-1220).