Texoma Living Well Magazine May/June 2018 - Page 36

Game Plan for Good Health Courtesy Baylor Scott & White Health G uys: Here are your biggest health threats—and what you can do about them When it comes to staying well, women usually fare better than men. But is the fairer sex simply healthier by nature, or are there other factors involved? “I don’t know that gender really plays a role, other than in the way health care is utilized. Men tend to wait until things get bad, where with women, we tend to find prob- lems earlier because they come and get them checked out” as part of their annual exams, says Raymond J. Harrison, MD, MBA, an internal medicine physician at Baylor Scott & White Clinic – Copperas Cove. Guys, you don’t have to wait until things get bad. Do your- self and your family a favor and set aside two hours every year to see a doctor and make sure everything is A-OK— and if it’s not OK, to get professional advice on how to be healthy. In the meantime, before your next checkup (you have made that appointment, right?), here is a heads-up about some of the biggest health threats facing men— diabetes, heart disease and cancer—and how you can re- duce your risk. DIABETES Know your risks: Being overweight or obese; having high blood sugar, high blood pressure and high cholesterol; and aging are among the big- gest risk factors. Bigger still 36 TEXOMA AREA Living Well Magazine | MAY/JUNE 2018 are genetic predisposition and race, Dr. Harrison says. “For example, people of Hispanic descent and Pacific Is- landers are more likely to develop diabetes than people of European descent.” African-Americans, Asian-Ameri- cans and American Indians are also at greater risk, ac- cording to the American Diabetes Association. Take action: Controlling your blood sugar, blood pres- sure and cholesterol and eating a healthy diet are key, as are exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight. In fact, losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight (that’s 10 to 20 pounds for a 200-pound man) can significantly reduce your risk. “For anybody who has the genetic predisposition to diabetes, as soon as they lose the weight, most of the time their diabetes goes into remission,” Dr. Harrison says. “And one of the interest- ing things we see in patients with diabetes who have gastric bypass surgery is that within a week or two it’s in remission.” HEART DISEASE Know your risks: Men are more likely than wom- en to develop heart dis- ease and to have a heart attack. Besides gender, other risk factors include smoking and having dia- betes. Take action: Quitting tobacco, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and con- trolling your blood pres- sure and cholesterol will go a long way. And these