HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — June is National Men's Health Month. This month is all about encouraging the men in your life to take care of their bodies, eat right, and work to prevent disease.
UAB Nursing School of Medicine Assistant Professor and family medicine physician Marshall Pritchett said, "... a lot of times we tough through things until we can't anymore." This is a character trait some men tend to have in common. Pritchett believes as a result, usually what happens next is, "We have a heart attack, we have a stroke. You know, we have something that stops us in our tracks and now we have no choice but to pay attention to our health. You know, men are generally looked at as, you know, they generally don't think about their health as much as women do, I think."
It's also important to know and ask your family members about their health history. "We always want to know like, okay, if dad has history of prostate cancer, maybe I have an increased risk for prostate cancer. If dad has a history of diabetes or mom has a history of diabetes, then maybe I should go and get checked out for these things sooner [rather] than later."
Prostate cancer is the number one cancer seen in men in the United States, and it's the number two leading cause of cancer death in men in the U.S. as of 2019, the last time data was compiled.
So at the end of the day, what's the first step to helping encourage the men in your life to stay healthy? "The first step is just walking through the door, talking to your primary care doctor, developing a relationship." While urgent care is great, Pritchett says, "You know, when you come to your primary care doctor, they know who you are. They know something's off, even when you're like, you know, my blood pressure's not terrible, but something's off."