A GUIDE TO YOUR BODY
The knowledge here will help you put a MANtenance plan in place, but you can’t do it alone. A primary care doctor is a great place to start. They know your health history and can also help you make informed choices about specialized treatment and tests.
PRIMARY CARE DOCTORS DO THE FOLLOWING:
- Keep track of your medical history including injuries, illnesses and medications.
- Give you a safe setting in which to talk about private concerns.
- Work together with you to create a personalized plan for your health goals.
- Talk with you about specialized services.
Health care is more accessible than ever. You’ll find UCHealth primary care, urgent care and emergency care locations across the Front Range. You can even skip the drive with a Virtual Visit, which allows you to be seen and treated by a UCHealth provider without coming in.
Find a doc and schedule an appointment at uchealth.org.
- Blood Pressure:Starting at 20, then every year.
- Cholesterol:Starting in mid-20s, earlier if there is family history.
- Sexually transmitted infection (STIs) test
- Vision exam:Biannually from 18–60.
- Dental exam:1–2 times a year.
- Tetanus-diptheria booster vaccine:Every 10 years.
- Avoid tobacco.
- Wear sunscreen.
- Blood sugar test:Depends on history—may be done yearly.
- COLONOSCOPY:Starting at 45.
- PSA for prostate cancer
- Fecal occult blood test:Every year, unless you have already had a colonoscopy.
- Shingles vaccine:At 50. Series of two shots.
- Pneumococcal vaccine:Two types, one time only.
- Aortic aneurysm screening:Once if there’s a history of smoking.
Talk to a doctor about which tests are best for you. More frequent screenings may be recommended based on your personal history.
Stress. There’s no avoiding it. But instead of getting stressed out, remember to relax. Use your head and these five quick steps—in 15 minutes or less, you can chill out and show who’s in control.
Sit up straight, close your eyes and recite positive affirmations, whether out loud or silently, as you take deep breaths and let any distracting thoughts drift away.
2. REACH OUT.
There’s little better than good old-fashioned face time. Talk to your friends, even if it’s about something completely different. Best case, you end up with a new perspective. Worst case, it gives your mind a much-needed break.
3. SLOW DOWN.
Lie on your back, sit with your feet on the floor—whatever position makes you comfortable. Clear your head, pay attention to your breathing and mentally scan your body, focusing on releasing the tension.
4. EASE YOUR ANGER.
Breathe in through your nose for one second, then out for one second. Add one breath for each inhale and exhale. You’ll feel calmer by breath ten.
5. PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE RELAXATION.
Focus on slowly tensing and relaxing each muscle group, starting with your toes and moving up.
Tobacco users are at risk for coronary artery disease and other heart problems.
KNOW YOUR NUMBERS.
Know the difference between good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Then know where you stand.
Of course, exercise is good for your heart, but research shows that lifting weights expands blood vessels and lowers resting blood pressure.
When you’re feeling stressed, take six deep breaths in 30 seconds to lower your blood pressure by up to four points.
NOT ALL FATS ARE BAD.
Eating a diet rich in foods containing healthy fats, including olive oil and avocados, can boost the level of good cholesterol in your system.
Prostate cancer is the second-most common type of cancer in American men, with a 12% lifetime risk of being diagnosed. There are no early-warning symptoms for prostate cancer—that’s why a screening is so important. That said, symptoms are symptoms, and although they usually result from enlargement of the prostate and not cancer, you should get them checked out by a doctor. They include:
- A need to urinate frequently, especially at night, sometimes urgently.
- Blood in the urine or semen.
- Weak, dribbling or interrupted flow of urine.
- Difficulty having an erection.
Just thinking about a prostate exam used to make the manliest of men put it off as long as possible. Well, men, times have changed. Today, your doctor leaves the glove in the box, and uses a shared decision-making strategy to assess your personal risk and desires and can perform a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test at your next checkup if you jointly decide this fits for you.
Your doctor takes a simple blood sample and sends it to a laboratory to measure the amount of PSA that your prostate gland is producing. High levels can indicate prostate cancer, but other factors can raise PSA levels too. It’s an important tool in checking your prostate health, but just one of several in properly diagnosing prostate cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommends talking to a doctor about prostate screening at the following ages:
- 50 years for men with an average risk and a life expectancy of more than 10 years.
- 45 years for men with a high risk (African Americans, men with obesity and anyone with a close relative who received a diagnosis of prostate cancer before age 65).
- 40 years for men with more than one close relative who developed prostate cancer at an early age.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States, but it is also among the most treatable if detected early.
- 90 percent of new cases occur in people age 50 or older.
- People with an immediate relative (parent, sibling or offspring) with colon cancer have two to three times the risk of developing the disease.
Symptoms include a change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation or narrowing of the stool that lasts for more than a few days and may also include:
- Rectal bleeding.
- Blood in the stool.
- Cramping or abdominal pain.
- Weakness and fatigue.
- Unintended weight loss.
Many of these symptoms can be caused by conditions other than colorectal cancer, but it’s important to tell your doctor if any of the above last longer than a few days.
Your dad bod might need a little work, even if you’re not a dad yet—that’s what MANtenance is for. Plus you’ve got the best possible home team backing you up.
Being in a relationship is good for your health. It makes you happier, more confident and more engaged in your lifestyle. In a survey conducted by UCHealth, almost half of men questioned consider their partners as having an equal stake in their own health care decisions.
Fatherhood also has health benefits. It makes you watch what you eat. It gets you off the couch. It fills you with joy and a better sense of self. And raising kids reminds you to take care of your health, just like you’re taking care of theirs—including regular checkups.
The benefits keep coming too. A long-term study by the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, found that men with healthy family relationships are less prone to stress-related health problems. So get into MANtenance and be the best family man you can be.