For Men’s Health Month, make health your gift to yourself

Posted on Jun 1, 2019 @ 10:00 AM
For Men’s Health Month, make health your gift to yourself
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June is Men’s Health Month. It’s a good time to schedule your annual wellness visit with your primary care provider.

“Even if you have no symptoms you’re concerned about, a wellness visit can catch health problems early when they are easier to treat,” says Carl Stevens, MD, CareOregon Medical Director. It’ll keep you up to date on vaccinations and other preventive services to help you stay well for the coming year.

“Your primary care provider will set aside extra time for the wellness visits to go over your health conditions and medications in detail, and work with you to make an individual care plan to better meet your need,” Dr. Stevens says. “Depending on your age and risk factors, you may be screened for diabetes, high cholesterol, bladder function, sleep problems, depression, anxiety and use of alcohol and other drugs.”

Here are some of the issues that will likely be covered during the wellness visit.

Do I need cancer screening? You may be due for colorectal cancer screening, either with a take-home test or possibly a colonoscopy. You also have the option to be screened for prostate cancer, and you will want to discuss your options and preferences with your provider.

How is my blood pressure? Your provider will check your blood pressure and other risk factors for stroke and heart disease during the wellness visit and may recommend treatment. Between visits, you can track your own blood pressure with a home measurement cuff or visit one of the many pharmacies where you can check your own blood pressure at no cost. Checking blood pressure several times a year is a good idea because high blood pressure can lead to a stroke or heart attack, and typically shows no symptoms.

Are my medications still working? Be sure to pack up all the medications you are currently taking, whether prescriptions or over-the-counter, and bring them in for your visit. Also be sure to bring a list of any previously prescribed medications you have stopped taking.

CareOregon provides a handy tool for keeping track of medications, and how you think they are working for you. It’s a nice aid for your discussion with your doctor. It’s a free download at a free download on our website.

Is my diabetes under control? If you have diabetes, you’ll have a variety of tests your doctor will want you to have regularly.

Your doctor also is a good resource to learn about things you can do every day to keep your diabetes under control — or keep it away if you don’t have it. Exercise, nutrition and weight loss all are factors.

Are my immunizations up to date? There are vaccines that need to be renewed every few years and, of course, the flu shot that you need every year.

What about alcohol and other controlled substances? This is a question your doctor may raise every time, even if you haven’t brought it up. Research says it’s a good way to get people who are having issues into treatment.

How is my oral health? More and more, you’ll be hearing about dental care and oral health even in clinics for your physical health. That’s because oral health is linked to so many physical conditions, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure and stroke.

“We recommend seeing a dentist every year, regardless of whether you have had trouble with your teeth in the past,” Dr. Stevens says. “Your dentist can check for gum disease, cancers of the mouth and other conditions that contribute to your overall health.”

 

Resources

Medicare’s guide to your yearly wellness visit (with valuable information even if you’re not on Medicare)

 The most up-to-date recommendations for prostate cancer screening

The CareOregon MEDS Chart, an aid to talking with your doctor about your prescriptions

Help me find a provider?

The oral and physical health connection

What are the Oregon Health Plan dental benefits?

Who is my dental provider? Your dental care provider is shown on your Oregon Health Plan ID Card.

If your dental plan is CareOregon Dental, you can find a provider on our website.. If your dental care provider is another organization (see the back of your Health Share of Oregon ID Card), you may call the appropriate number you’ll find here.

 

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