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Men’s Health: Ignorance is not bliss

U.S. Air Force illustration/Airman 1st Class William Tracy

U.S. Air Force illustration/Airman 1st Class William Tracy

U.S. Air Force illustration/Airman 1st Class William Tracy

U.S. Air Force illustration/Airman 1st Class William Tracy

U.S. Air Force illustration/Airman 1st Class William Tracy

U.S. Air Force illustration/Airman 1st Class William Tracy

U.S. Air Force illustration/Airman 1st Class William Tracy

U.S. Air Force illustration/Airman 1st Class William Tracy

U.S. Air Force illustration/Airman 1st Class William Tracy

U.S. Air Force illustration/Airman 1st Class William Tracy

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo --

During June, Men’s Health Awareness Month, Schriever medical personnel are advocating for male service members to get a checkup, even if they don’t feel sick, for themselves and their loved ones.

“It's important for all military service members to be part of a fit fighting force," said Maj. Richard Navarez, 21st Medical Squadron clinic physician assistant. "If men don't know about health problems, they may think they are healthy. However, checking blood pressure, cholesterol and other medical procedures can prove otherwise."

Risks for adult men can go unnoticed until it becomes a serious problem. According to the National Institutes of Health's website, younger males, who tend to engage more frequently in high risk activities, are predisposed to contracting sexually transmitted diseases and physical harm as well as developing substance abuse from alcohol and other drugs. The website stated that from age 20-24, the mortality rate for males spikes due to engagement in these risk factors; many are motor vehicle-related.

Older males are at risk of prostate and colon cancers, high cholesterol and heart disease, Navarro said. Patients are especially at risk if these ailments run in their families.

Many of these risks can be detected by consulting a medical professional and undergoing routine procedures such as lipid and glucose tests; which the 21st Medical Squadron's conducts here at Schriever, Navarez said.

Staff Sgt. Anthony Presti, 21 MS clinic medical laboratory technician, concurred.

"We males have a tendency to feel indestructible, however that is not the case," he said. "The best thing you can do is go to your regular checkups. If you are looking to stay on top of things, come in and see us."

According to a Center for Disease Control study, women are 100 percent more likely to visit medical facilities for annual checkups then men.

Fortunately, service members are required to undergo many of these procedures as part of their Physical Health Assessment - but tendencies to avoid the clinic remain.

"Our bodies are like a car," Navarez said. "There's a lot of preventative maintenance you need to take to make it last longer."

Navarez also recommends Schriever males use resources such as the Health and Wellness Center and the fitness center to stay on top of their diet and exercise to fortify their health.

"You can treat a lot of these issues by maintaining a well balanced exercise and diet," he said. "The HAWC can give you nutrition counseling and classes, and the fitness center offers programs as well. Healthy sleeping habits are also beneficial."

While Men's Health Awareness Month lasts only through June, being aware of health risks and seeking medical consultation is a measure that can potentially extend someone years of life.

"If you have any questions, if you need information, we'll try to help any way we can- we are here for you," Presti said. "Now is the time, if you haven't started, to be more aware of your health."

To schedule an appointment through the Schriever clinic, call 524-2273.

To find out more about Men's Health Awareness month, go to menshealthawareness.org or visit the National Institutes of Health's website at nih.gov.

 

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