Hally Healthcast: Men’s Health Month – Tips for Every Stage of Your Adult Life

Hally® Healthcast is the monthly wellness podcast from Hally health.

June is Men’s Health Month, so today we have tips on what men should know and do about their health during every stage of their adult life. With us today is Dr. Robert Healy, a long-time adult medicine physician and the chief quality officer at Carle Health in Urbana, Illinois.

Listen here, or read a quick summary in the article below.

Caitlin Whyte (Host): Welcome to Hally Healthcast, the monthly wellness podcast from Hally health – your partner in helping you live your healthiest life. Every month on our podcast, we address a new topic important to your health, bringing in expert doctors, therapists, and specialists who offer advice and answer your most pressing questions.

June is Men’s Health Month. So, today we have tips on what men should know and do about their health during every stage of their adult life. With us today, is Dr. Robert Healy, a long time Adult Medicine Physician, and the Chief Quality Officer at Carle Health in Urbana, Illinois. Welcome Dr. Healy. It’s so nice to have you here with us today.

So, let’s jump right in with the youngest age group. Men in their twenties – you know, they might feel invincible now, but what are the most important things that they need to know about their health? And what should they keep an eye on? What should they be doing in this time?

Robert Healy, MD (Guest): Yeah, that’s a great question. I think I’ll start with the fact that you know, as I was thinking about this topic, there’s a lot to cover in an appointment that a man would have with their provider. So, this isn’t going to cover everything, of course. So, I’m just going to hit on the highlights. I won’t, you know, I won’t say everything that a 20 year old should talk to their physician about or watch for, but I think it’ll give an idea for a man to know, “hey, should I be seen when I’m in my twenties?” and/or whatever age group we’re talking about and what kind of things are important.

Men in their twenties, I think a lot of times, unfortunately we don’t see our provider, unless there’s a specific issue. Twist your ankle, or if you have a really bad sore throat or in these days, if you’re worried about COVID, you know, then you might see your physician or your primary team, but I would encourage men to get involved with their primary care doctor and their team in their twenties.

And I’d say, probably be seen at least a couple of times, if everything else is going fine.

And the things that you’ll talk about, the things that will be important to go over are habits. What’s your habit with alcohol or recreational drugs or tobacco, and talk about the health risks there and what you can do to help yourself.

There’ll be certain things you talk about such as safety. So, going over seatbelt use, although by the time you’re in your twenties, you know that, but, but still finding out, do you wear seatbelts, talking about workplace safety, talking about safe sexual practices.

There’s immunizations you need. Probably the last time you had a tetanus booster was in high school. So, in your twenties, you’ll need a tetanus booster because you should get one every 10 years and then you should get your flu shot every year.

Something that we kind of focus as a physician, I focus on what is going on right now and what to prevent 10, 20 years down the line. So, we’ll be real interested in looking at your blood pressure and your weight and kind of seeing what’s happening there when you’re in your twenties.

Host: Great advice, especially like you said, as we are in a pandemic. Moving on, what about men in their thirties?

Dr. Healy: Yeah, I guess I would group, the thirties and forties together.

I think still keeping an eye on your weight, help prevent diabetes that way, watching your blood pressure. A lot of times we’ll find people that we diagnose blood pressure in their fifties and sixties, but going back in the record, it’s been, it’s been years in the making. So, I think really focusing on blood pressure early on, is a good idea.

Again, reviewing your habits, immunizations and safety topics.

And then, you know, in your thirties and forties, you’ll talk to your provider about the fact that you might have kids and the stresses there, and the ways to help with issues that that might bring up, as well as your parents might be aging about this time and having chronic diseases. So, talking about how you could help to help your parents and, and help kind of understand what’s going on in their lives.

The other thing is you’re starting to get an idea of what to watch for, you know: what are stroke symptoms? what are heart disease symptoms? what if you had diabetes – what would that look like?

Those are the things I start talking about at those ages.

Host: Of course. Yes. And now looking into retirement years, like you said, more of those chronic conditions will start popping up. So, what is some advice for men in their fifties and sixties?

Dr. Healy: Probably the biggest thing is colon cancer screening. Everyone knows you start that at age 50. That actually might be going down to age 45 in the near future, but for now it’s age 50.

I think a really good thing to do is talk to your provider about, about that because sometimes people won’t talk about it because they’re afraid of it. They’ve heard horror stories about the prep, for instance, for a colonoscopy, but there’s, there’s other ways of doing that test. There’s other studies that can be done for colon cancer screening. Even if you didn’t want a colonoscopy, which is kind of the gold standard.

I think, you know, something that keeps men away from the doctor is their concern and worry that they might start having to have rectal exams done. And women don’t worry about that kind of, you know, exam because they’ve been having PAP smears forever, but men are starting to be worried about it and might not necessarily want it.

I think the good thing is just talking about it and probably you’ll realize that there’s, it’s not needed as much as it once was and there’s other ways of checking for prostate health for risk of prostate cancer.

In your fifties and sixties, you’ll start talking about memory issues. Everyone has those moments where they forget something and they think, “oh my goodness, is this Alzheimer’s coming on?” So, you’ll talk about that – and what’s normal and what might not be normal – to keep an eye on.

A couple of new vaccines you’ll need as you get older. You’ll talk about shingles vaccine and pneumonia vaccine. And a lot of times, by this time in your life, you’ll be living with chronic diseases. People will have blood pressure issues, or arthritis, or heart disease, or diabetes, or certain cancers, and kind of learning how to live with those. And, and again, what to look for if things change and what’s normal in the course of those diseases.

And then when you’re 65 or whatever age it’ll be, when the people we’re talking to turn turning the Medicare age, you’ll start your annual Medicare wellness visit. That’s pretty much what you’ve been doing all along – talking to your provider and getting up-to-date on your immunizations and cancer screening and things, but that’s a newly added thing that you’ll have in your sixties.

Host: And how about that last age bracket? The true golden years, men in their seventies and above.

Dr. Healy: Yeah. So, continuing with your annual wellness visits, starting to talk about things like continuing exercise and mobility issues.

Is there a problem with your walking? Could there possibly be a need for a cane or something to help you with walking, really focusing on fall risk because we know that falls as you get older can be pretty devastating with a broken hip or other fractures. So, talking about home safety, you know, what kind of rugs do you have in your house? What kind of stairs do you have to deal with on a daily basis?

So, those are the things we’ll talk about in the seventies and onward age group. And then of course, so many other things – the continued chronic diseases that you might have that you’re working with and trying to, to control. You know, again, memory issues, because they become more prominent as we get older, just normally. So, trying to separate what’s normal from what’s not normal.

And I like to, as you get older, I always tell my patients this, when, if they come in and they’re 90, the first thing I do is congratulate them. Whatever they’ve been doing has worked because they’re in their nineties and talk about how certain things are needed. But for the most part, the least I do to you the better. But having that ongoing conversation with your provider is really important.

Host: And wrapping up here, can you just leave us with some last advice? You know, a lot of this sounds like consistent visits with your doctor throughout the years really is best. Why is it so important to just keep up with those annual visits?

Dr. Healy: I think it’s really important to, to get to know somebody and for them to get to know you. So, it might be a family physician that others in your family know. It might be an internist that focuses on the adults in your family, or it might just be someone that you see. But someone who you could call when an issue comes up, that you can see when an issue comes up. In healthcare, there’s great access for Televisits and video visits and convenient care, urgent care. But really, I think it’s a good thing to have an established relationship with your own personal physician or provider, or that could be an advanced practice provider, like a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant, just that team, get to know them, have it so that they know you so that when things happen – as they do, because that something’s going to happen in our lifetimes – where we’re going to need the medical establishment. So, it’s good to know who you’re calling and the people in the office and where the office is. So, definitely a good idea that keep up with those annual visits.

Host: Well such important information and advice. Thank you so much, Dr. Healy. I know this will help so many men of all ages. And thanks for all you do at Carle Health in Urbana and throughout central Illinois.

That concludes today’s Hally Healthcast. Tune in next month as we tackle yet another topic important to your health and well-being. And remember, Hally health is your partner in helping you live your healthiest life. Visit hally.com for resources, information, tips, and much more. Let us help keep you and your family healthy and well. Thanks for listening. We hope you tune in next month.

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