Greene County News
YELLOW SPRINGS — Staying healthy can be as simple as getting regular checkups.
June is Men’s Health Month and Greene County Nurse Practitioner Cliff Fawcett believes it is a great opportunity to remind men to see a doctor regularly. Regular screenings can ensure a healthier future.
“When we talk about men’s health many times the focus moves to things like prostate issues – although this is a serious and important issue – everyday health is equally important,” said Fawcett. “We have to look at other issues like obesity, heart disease and diabetes.” In adults over the age of 20, more than two-thirds of the US population (68.8 percent) is considered to be overweight or obese.
Fawcett serves at Community Physicians of Yellow Springs, a rural health clinic of Greene Memorial Hospital and affiliated with Kettering Health Network.
Getting a regular checkup is a proactive way to stay on top of one’s healthcare. “It’s better to come in, have a conversation with the doctor, have blood work done, blood pressure checked and screen for treatable diseases then waiting until years later, when it may be much more difficult to adequately treat these diseases,” he added.
Fawcett also doesn’t want men to be apprehensive about doctor visits. “We have to re-train this idea of being tough, because there are diseases we can prevent – if we can screen for them regularly.”
“I say to men, don’t put it off – get checked out,” he said. “And I say to the partners and spouses in their lives – do whatever it takes to motivate them, offer to go with them, give the men in your life encouragement as it could save their lives.”
Some of the recommended screenings for men include: a colonoscopy at age 50 and every 10 years after that; blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol testing yearly and possibly a prostate screening at age 50.
Fawcett understands that many men are worried about prostate cancer, however he believes that a person’s family history and risks should be considered in determining if that testing is appropriate for that patient.
“This is why it is so important to see a doctor regularly so you can work together to determine the best approach for you,” he added.
“Good health doesn’t have to be hard,” says Fawcett. He emphasizes breaking care down to the things that can quickly be changed and almost immediately start improving overall health.
“I first ask a patient if they smoke,” he said. “And if they say yes … I remind them that one of the best things they can do is to quit today! We know that a wide range of cancers and diseases are caused by smoking – heart attacks, strokes, COPD and much more.”
Sleep apnea is becoming a very serious health risk to men, “We are seeing a large increase in the number of people with sleep apnea due to obesity,” said Faucett. “Sleep apnea can lead to hypertension and sleepiness – which can affect all aspects of a person’s life.”
Today people are working more and getting by on less sleep they then are taking in more caffeine, which is not recommended. Fawcett said adults need at least seven to eight hours a night.
Being active is another way for men to impact their health positively.
“We sit too much today,” he said. “Many folks sit all day for their job, go home and eat and sit for the night. The focus doesn’t have to be on strenuous exercise, but on being active – doing things you enjoy like playing golf, taking a walk or throwing the ball with your child. Anything is better than sitting on the couch!”
Another way to impact one’s health is to eat more fruits and vegetables.
“Most of us are not getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day – just start slipping a vegetable into lunch or a fruit into dinner. Just a couple of servings a day can go a long way.”
The role of the healthcare provider is much more than just screenings and results, it’s to help you lower the risks of preventable disease and to encourage a healthy life.