A SANDY SPRINGS DOCTOR HIGHLIGHTS HEALTH ISSUES FOR MEN OF ALL AGES
STORY: Amelia Pavlik
Immunizations, cholesterol screenings, prostate exams. Guys, you all know these health issues should eventually be on your radar, but at what point? To answer this question, we turned to Dr. Charles Taylor, a family practitioner at Perimeter North Medical Associates in Sandy Springs. Here’s his wellness advice for men in their 20s and beyond.
“Out of college and into life: Adulting means choosing healthy habits,” says Taylor. “Say goodbye to weekend binges of alcohol and junk food.” Here are a few other things to be aware of:
Combat your slowing metabolism.
“In your late 20s, your ability to stay slim while eating a horrible diet will diminish,” says Taylor. “So start eating more fruits and vegetables, and develop other healthy eating habits.” Also, try to exercise at least three to four times a week, starting with walking and progressing to more aerobic exercise such as running, biking and high-intensity interval training.
Update your immunizations.
“If you’re planning to eventually have a family, get a Tdap shot around age 25,” says Taylor. “It protects against the pertussis infection, which can be fatal to small children.” Also, get in the habit of receiving an annual flu vaccine.
Get screened for STDs.
If you’re single and having sex, do this periodically. “And please, use a condom,” he adds.
“We’re now into middle age,” says Taylor. “We only get one lap around this planet, and it goes faster than we think. The length and quality of our lap will largely be determined by the choices we make in this age range.” Here are the key things to take care of:
Find a good doctor.
This needs to be a person you feel comfortable talking to. “For example, this is when you might need to have a conversation about the pros and cons of Viagra, so pick someone you can actually discuss sensitive subjects with,” says Taylor.
Check your cholesterol.
“Heart disease is the number one killer in every city, county and state,” says Taylor. “Know your BMI, blood pressure and LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, and consider a coronary calcium scan. They cost about $100 and are 98 percent accurate for detecting heart disease.”
Have a prostate exam.
“If you’re an African American, get the exam done at 45, as this group experiences a higher rate of this type of cancer,” says Taylor. “Others can start getting them at age 50.”
Schedule a colonoscopy.
This should be done at age 50. Colon cancer is the third most common cancer, and it takes years for a polyp to become malignant. “This is true preventive medicine and may be one of the most important things any man can do for himself,” says Taylor.
“You’re heading into retirement. Don’t you want to enjoy this time?” asks Taylor. “This means taking care of yourself with healthy eating and exercise. For example, most of us have had enough fatty and fried foods at this point. And moving your body keeps the heart healthy and diminishes the likelihood of dementia.” Here are a few additional things to consider:
Revisit those immunizations.
During this period, it’s time to get vaccinated for pneumonia and shingles, as men in this age range are more susceptible to these illnesses.
Don’t avoid medication.
“I don’t see many patients over age 65 who are not on a medication,” says Taylor. “Medications are really a large part of why we live so long. With that said, if you need them, take them. I’ve seen too many people die young because they were overly worried about the evils of putting a few medications in their bodies. Men especially tend to avoid medications when taking them would expand the length and quality of their lives.”
PERIMETER NORTH MEDICAL ASSOCIATES
960 Johnson Ferry Road N.E.
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