June 27, 2024

Making Men’s Health a Priority

Men's Health
Preventative Health
Making Men's Health a Priority - Men's Health Month Blog

June is Men’s Health Month, a great opportunity to bring this important topic to the forefront. David Misorski, MD, primary care provider with Fort HealthCare, offers helpful information about certain conditions that impact men, specifically, as well as other health concerns they might encounter throughout their lifetime.

Prostate Cancer Screening

One key assessment Dr. Misorski performs is prostate health checks. Typically, this begins at age 50 for average risk patients. In African American and Hispanic men, assessment often begins earlier. Screening for prostate cancer involves a simple blood test that checks men’s prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels. If levels are elevated, further investigation might be needed—but that doesn’t always indicate a man actually has prostate cancer.

“A single PSA number doesn’t necessarily mean prostate cancer. We look at changes in the number over time. But, because there are a lot of false positives with this test, it’s helpful to let people know upfront what the test means and how we use it,” he states.

Colon Cancer Screening

Another significant concern among men is colon cancer. Screening for this cancer should begin at age 45. The gold standard is colonoscopy, but alternative methods—such as stool tests—are also available. Type of screening heavily depends on a person’s family history or their previous history, whether they can choose one option versus another. But “any screening is better than no screening” notes Dr. Misorski.

Heart and Lung Health

As men age, heart health often becomes a concern. Many start to develop high blood pressure and high cholesterol, particularly if they have a family history of such conditions.

“Hypertension is certainly one of the most common things we treat. I think because the recommendations are to keep blood pressure as low as possible, we have many more people being treated for elevated blood pressure. However, there are lots and lots of choices that are generic and tolerated well for getting that blood pressure down,” assures Dr. Misorski.

Smoking is a contributing factor of poor heart health, as well as lung health. Experts recommend that smokers undergo a simple yearly CAT scan from the ages of 50-80 to detect initial signs of lung cancer. This is a low-dose radiation scan, so exposure is very minimal.

Type-2 Diabetes

With the increasing number of individuals developing type-2 diabetes, Dr. Misorski encourages men to get their blood sugar levels checked starting at the age of 35; sometimes sooner depending on risk factors. This involves a simple fasting blood test.

If someone is at risk for type-2 diabetes, the first line of defense is to adopt healthy lifestyle habits such as proper nutrition and a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. These interventions also apply to someone who is officially diagnosed with type-2 diabetes—alongside an appropriate treatment plan.

“Treatment of diabetes is a team approach,” shares Dr. Misorski. “We have diabetes educators and nutrition counselors. Certainly, there are community groups out there and wellness classes. There are all sorts of opportunities for people to educate themselves on diabetes and do what they can to keep it under control or resolve it.”

Sleep Apnea

Finally, many men have undiagnosed sleep apnea, which can lead to additional long-term health issues. “The good news for sleep apnea is that you can often do the screening test right in your own home now, and the treatments have gotten much more tolerable,” he adds. “So, if you’re concerned about sleep apnea or if your spouse is concerned about your sleep apnea, by all means, come on in and let us check it out.”