A Maryland doctor is encouraging men to be proactive about their health, and he says most of the leading causes of illness and death — heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and injuries — are either preventable or better managed when detected early.
“It’s really important that we are aggressive in maintaining relationships with our health care team to prevent these serious outcomes and ensure a long and vibrant life,” said Dr. Kwame Akoto, an internal medicine doctor at Kaiser Permanente in Baltimore.
Men should talk with their doctors about diet, level of activity, sleep schedule, mental health and any lifestyle changes that might be needed.
“It’s not something where we should look at our health as something that’s unmanly to talk about or to address with our health care teams,” Akoto said. “It’s actually the most courageous thing you can do for your family is to take care of yourself and make sure that you have good contact with your health care team.”
Women are more likely to go to the doctor and have annual exams than men.
“There are some surveys that show men are more likely to go seek health care guidance when they’re prodded by family, friends, particularly their spouse or anyone else; I think the way to do this best is to lead by example,” he said.
“Go to your appointments, come back, give them feedback and say, ‘Hey, I had a great experience. I talked about this and that. I think these things are going to be important, my physician or health care team mentioned these things for screening, and maybe you want to think about that yourself.’ So, just subtle hints throughout and leading by example.”
Akoto stressed that men should hold themselves accountable.
“Be brave; stay active; engage as much as possible with your health care teams, and we’ll be there to support you,” he said. “But remember that you need to prioritize this as well to be there for your friends and family. And that’s something I think is great to remember during this Father’s Day.”