Men’s Health Week 2015

October 20, 2015 11:30 AM

The value of Men’s Health Week was readily apparent to many members of our union who visited one of the Health and Dental Centers October 5-9 for this health and wellness event. Men who participated were able to be screened for high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV status and various forms of cancer. Emphasis was placed on maintaining safe blood pressure and cholesterol levels, eating a healthy diet and getting moderate-to-vigorous physical exercise at least four times a week, all of which will help men live longer and healthier lives.

There was information available on all these health measures. As an example, those men who learned for the first time that they had high blood pressure learned that the condition can be easily treated with medication and with diet and exercise. They also learned that if this condition is left untreated it can lead to severe problems like strokes, kidney disease and heart attacks.

Also available to men who visited the Health Centers for Men’s Health Week were tests for early signs of various forms of cancer. These tests are important because on more than a few occasions in the past early stages of cancer were detected in some men who visited during Men’s Health Week. These men were directed to the appropriate medical care and are doing fine now.

Here are some of the visitors to the Harlem Health Center for Men's Health Week.

Smoking was also an issue covered during Men’s Health Week. As we all know, there are many illnesses and serious medical conditions associated with smoking, and many of them are fatal. In addition, we all know that smoking is expensive. The average smoker is expected to spend up to $200,000 on the habit in a lifetime, and that figure does not include the cost of health intervention!

As those who visited during Men’s Health Week learned, the Health Centers and MHAP have several intervention methods to help members stop smoking, including prescription medications and smoking cessation programs. Quite a few members have had success in quitting by using one of these methods. Further information is always available at the Health Centers or through MHAP.

Men’s Health Week also provided the opportunity to remind visitors about flu shots. In fact, every man (and woman) age 50 or older and others at high risk should get a flu shot every year. There are other immunizations men should know about. As an example, men who work with or near sharp instruments like cooks and dishwashers might want to consider getting a tetanus shot every five to ten years. Other men, where appropriate, should consider being immunized against Hepatitis B. By the way, this season’s flu shots are available now at the Health Centers. All members, even those who use out-of-area, can get their shots for this year’s flu season at any of the Health Centers without an appointment being necessary.

There was also information available at Men’s Health Week about a topic few talk about: depression. As Men’s Health Week visitors learned, depression does not have to be a debilitating condition, especially because medications and therapy are readily available. The Members Health Assistance Program (MHAP) can help those suffering from depression, as can the doctors at the Health Center. It is also important to remember that alcohol and drug abuse make depression worse, but are conditions that can be treated. MHAP can help members overcome dependence on drugs and alcohol.

Having a regular doctor (often called a primary care physician) is also important, a point that was strongly emphasized by the Health Centers during Men’s Health Week. As we have explained in the past, members who have a regular doctor at their Health Center are more inclined to take advantage of the various defenses against illness such as flu shots, testing for blood pressure, cancer, etc.

There were information sheets available on a wide variety of other health issues during Men’s Health Week. Good nutrition and steady exercise were recommended, and for good reasons that were clearly explained. Information was available on stress management, diabetes and other topics.

Even members who didn’t attend Men’s Health Week can benefit from the event by learning about those who did.

Want to lose a few pounds? Want to give up smoking? Want to decrease your risk for cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke or heart disease? Assistance is available for all of these things, as many members found out during Men’s Health Week. In fact, every member who visited one of the Health Centers for this event had the opportunity to put themselves on the road to a longer and healthier life! We hope that those who didn’t have the chance to attend take advantage of the information in this article and put themselves on that same road to longer, happier, healthier lives!

Some of the Men's Health Week visitors at the Queens Health Center are seen here with staff members.