Why your greatest health risk is probably not what you think

Men, if you haven’t already done so this year, it’s time to schedule a Whole Health Visit at your Vera clinic. It’s a great time to have any nagging questions answered. We’ve all had them:

Could it be cancer?

If you’re over age 50, colon cancer screening should be a part of your annual visit. The first signs and symptoms are easily missed, but unless you have a family history or symptoms that merit screening, there’s no reason for you to be screened before you reach the 50 year mark.

With testicular and prostate cancers, we no longer recommend annual screening. Research shows that it’s not likely that an annual screening will discover a problem before you do. The good news about both of these cancers is that they are often caught early and treatments are very successful. You should ask your provider to find out more about what is the best approach for you.

What about low testosterone?

Many men are reluctant to have a conversation about testosterone. But “low T” affects more than just sex drive. Sometimes, the underlying reason for performance issues or decreased energy levels can be associated with low testosterone.

It’s important to talk to your doctor about your testosterone concerns. If it’s low, we can help. If not, you may have another more serious health issue that we should also explore.

What’s my greatest health risk?

If you’re like most men, your weight is your greatest health risk. Surprisingly, men’s weight issues are virtually ignored — even by health practitioners — until a serious problems arises. More than 3 out of 4 men are at an unhealthy weight which significantly increases risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Low back pain
  • Hypertension
  • Loss of mobility
  • Loss of work
  • And Type 2 diabetes

Nearly all of these conditions are preventable.

How do I lower my risk?

Studies show that just by losing 10 pounds, a man can lower his risk of diabetes. It sounds simple, but if you have a weight loss partner, a plan for how to proceed, and get a good start at changing unhealthy eating habits, your chances of successfully losing weight and keeping it off increase exponentially.

One of the great things about your Vera Whole Health clinic is that you have access to health coaches who work with your doctor to help you lower your health risks. Health coaches can help you work toward healthier habits and choices and help you set and reach your fitness goals. Preventive care goes a long way to keeping you healthy.

Where do I start?

Make your Vera Whole Health appointment today. Talk to your doctor or nurse about your health risks and go over your health history. You and your team will decide on a plan together. If part of the plan is to lose a few pounds, you’re in good company. In the long run, the more you keep up on preventive care, the less likely you are to have a costly emergency.

Karl Weyrauch, MD, MPH

Dr. Karl Weyrauch is a family physician who earned his BA in Sociology and Anthropology from Swarthmore College, an MD from Cornell University Medical College, and an MPH from the University of Washington. Read more posts by Karl Weyrauch, MD, MPH

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