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Tough, fearless, unflappable—these are the words that describe the superheroes of the world. However, these tough exteriors do not always bode well for health.

Unfortunately, most men steer clear of the doctor until symptoms become concerning. According to a survey by The Cleveland Clinic, only 60% of men go for a yearly routine checkup, and 40% wait until something is seriously wrong.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13.2% of men aged 18 and over are in fair or poor health. Contributing factors include 30.9% of men who have five or more drinks in one day and 40.6% of men who have obesity.

June is National Men’s Health Month, a time to remind men to prioritize their health and, hopefully, avoid problems down the road.

“Delaying or neglecting symptoms can lead to serious health consequences,” explained Dr. Kevin Smith, family medicine and a member of the medical staff at Barstow Community Hospital. “When patients come for routine preventive visits, we can address preventable issues, like uncontrolled blood pressure and diabetes, before they become more serious.”

 Here are some tips to help men get their health back on track:

1. Get Routine Checkups: Men should visit their primary care provider annually for a physical or wellness check. These appointments help monitor key health indicators like blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, and weight, allowing for early detection and treatment of potential issues.

2. Eat Healthy: Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods, and lean protein sources. Limit foods high in saturated and trans fats and avoid foods with added sugar and sodium.

3. Stay Active: Any activity is better than no activity. Stay motivated by choosing physical activities you enjoy.

4. Quit Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of cancer, heart and lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses.

5. Reduce or Eliminate Alcohol Consumption: Even low levels of alcohol use (less than one drink per day) can increase the risk of certain cancers and chronic diseases.

6. Manage Stress: Chronic stress is harmful and can lead to conditions like heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and depression.

Small changes can make a difference in preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men.

To find a local primary care physician, visit Find a Provider here

Dr. Kevin Smith, family medicine and a member of the medical staff at Barstow Community Hospital