Men’s Health Month, an initiative first started by congress in 1994, is now recognized worldwide throughout the month of June via various educational health programs, health fairs, outreach activities, and even in the media. The main focus of Men’s Health Month is to not only heighten the awareness of some common (and less common) health concerns for men, but it’s also about the prevention, early detection, and treatment of certain illnesses, disorders and diseases that men can be faced with.
As a family physician, Dr. Ali Ghahary encourages men to see their doctor for regular physical examinations. Typically, patients (both males and females) will see a physician once per year for a full check-up. By going for annual exams, this allows you and your doctor to discuss any concerns you might have with your health, as well as making any necessary updates to your medical file. Your vital signs, such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature are also checked, and you will also undergo head/neck, abdominal, and neurological examinations. For men, an annual exam can also include a testicular exam, prostate exam, and hernia exam, which are done to check for things like testicular and prostate cancer. While the thoughts of these exams can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and maybe even downright scary for some, it’s important to remember that they are being done for your own benefit.
There are certain guidelines that Dr. Ali Ghahary and healthcare professionals across Canada, the United States, and the world, suggest men between the ages of 18 and 39 follow when it comes to health screening. Things like blood pressure and cholesterol screening should be checked every 3 to 5 years. If you have a history of high blood pressure yourself, or if there is a history of high blood pressure in your family, then it’s suggested that you have it checked every year. If your systolic number (the top number) is over 140 or the diastolic number (the bottom number) is over 90, you should book an appointment with your family doctor as soon as possible. There are also other underlying medical conditions that may require you to have your blood pressure levels checked more frequently. Click here to learn more about blood pressure and what you can do to avoid the risk of developing hypertension, and click here to find out how you can control your cholesterol. It’s also recommended that you keep your immunizations up to date. By age 19 you should have a tetanus shot, followed by a tetanus-diphteria booster every 10 years. Learn more about which vaccinations you need by visiting immunizebc.ca.
Another recommendation is that men between the ages of 45 and 49 have a baseline PSA test to check for prostate cancer. If your PSA level is above 3 ng/mL, your doctor may recommend having a biopsy done of the prostate. If your level is between 1 and 3 ng/mL, you should be going for a PSA test every 2 to 4 years. If you are at risk of developing or have a family history of prostate cancer, screening can be done as early as age 40. You can learn more about this particular test, including how it’s administered, by visiting prostatecancer.ca. Men should also be screened for colorectal cancer. While women can also develop this type of cancer, it tends to be more common in males than females.
When it comes to your health, it’s important to be pro-active. Certain illnesses often have no symptoms until the illness has reached a late stage, which is why it’s so crucial to see your physician for regular examinations. This way you are able to live a much healthier, longer life. If you don’t have a family physician, you can also see a doctor at any walk-in clinic. At Brentwood Medical Clinic in Burnaby, Dr. Ali Ghahary is available to see patients on a walk-in basis every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. For clinic hours, visit brentwoodwalk-inclinic.com.