By Hong-Phuc Tran, M.D.
You probably know that Father’s Day occurs in June. Did you also know that June is “Men’s Health Month” – the annual period when we urge our husbands, fathers, sons, and other male relatives to see a doctor for their health problems?
Like my husband and my father, many men tend to avoid going to the doctor until their ailments become unbearable or they give in to coaxing from loved ones. That’s why June is the designated month to promote awareness of preventable and easily detectable health problems common among men.
Below are some tips that men can follow to improve their general health:
• Eat a diet low in fat and cholesterol, with more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
• Get adequate sleep – usually seven to nine hours daily.
• Exercise at least 30 minutes daily for most days of the week.
• Maintain a normal body mass index.
• Reduce stress; learn to say “no” to activities you find stressful or overwhelming.
• Spend time with family and friends. Human beings are social creatures by nature, so good social support is important.
• Get annual checkups or more frequently if you have chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, to optimize your health.
• Ensure your immunizations and age-appropriate cancer screenings are current.
• Quit smoking and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
For men aged 65 or older, here are some additional tips to stay healthy and independent for as long as possible:
• Improve your balance, strength, flexibility, and endurance to prevent falls.
• Keep your mind active by reading, doing puzzles or other problem-solving activities.
• Maintain good dental health.
• Get annual eye exams to evaluate for glaucoma and other eye problems.
• If you have hearing difficulties, get screened for hearing loss.
• Talk to your doctor about your medications. If possible, taper off or stop medications that increase your risk of falls or harmful drug interactions
Here’s to your good health and Happy Father’s Day!
Dr. Hong-Phuc Tran is a geriatrician with the highly regarded UCLA Geriatrics Program in Santa Monica. For more information, call 310.319.4371 or visit www.geronet.med.ucla.edu.