Health: Be a man: Mind your health

Tammie J. Bertram/Health Department, Published:

This week has been designated as Men’s Health Week. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the goal of Men’s Health Week is “to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.”

Recommendations for simple things men can do to improve their health include: move more, get more sleep, don’t smoke or use tobacco products, reduce stress and stay on top of any changes in your health.

It is also important to get a yearly checkup. This should include a body mass index or BMI, a key index for weight to height ratio. It is important to know your BMI. You are considered underweight if your BMI is less than 18.5. Normal weight for height would be a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9.

A BMI of 25-29.9 is considered overweight and anything over 30 is considered obese. Overweight or obesity can put you at risk for high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes and many other diseases.

In addition to a BMI, blood pressure and blood tests for glucose level and cholesterol should also be obtained. It is usually recommended that you fast (nothing to eat or drink after midnight) until the blood is drawn for these tests. An elevated glucose or blood sugar may indicate the need for further testing for diabetes mellitus.

An elevated blood pressure or cholesterol may need to be evaluated further to determine is treatment is needed. Either of these may put you at risk for stroke, heart disease or other health problems.

Another important factor for good health is to be properly immunized. Yes, even as an adult there are vaccinations that are needed to promote health. The CDC now recommends that everyone receive an influenza vaccine every year. It is especially important for those with chronic diseases and the elderly. A Tdap vaccine is recommended every 10 years.

This protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis or whooping cough. A pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for all adults more than 65 years old, and for adults younger than 65 years who have certain chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, or those who smoke. Zoster or shingles vaccine is recommended for adults over 60.

National Men’s Health Week was designated to emphasize the importance of taking your health into your own hands. It is held the week of Father’s Day and is your chance to prove that health is important to you.

During this week, “individuals, families, communities and others work to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems, promote healthy living and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.”

The Franklin County Health Department is sponsoring a Men’s Health Day on Tuesday. Annual exams and testing will be available to those who have Medicaid, Medicare and those who have no payer source. Call 502-564-7647 to schedule an appointment.

Tammie J. Bertram, RN, MSN, is the director of nursing at the Franklin County Health Department, 100 Glenns Creek Road.

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