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    Because I love ‘HIM’

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | June 14th, 2020

    Because I love ‘HIM’

    Last year I told you that I was wearing blue the Friday before Father’s Day because I love ‘him’ and I will be doing it again this Friday. June 15th – June 21st is Men’s Health Week and the Friday (June 19th) before Father’s Day is Wear Blue Day. ‘Him’ represents my husband, son, nephews, brothers, uncles, cousins and all men that I hold dear to my heart.

    The purpose of Men’s health week is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases among men and boys.

    The stats have not changed since last year. Did you know?

    • On average American men live sicker and die younger than American women. Men die five years earlier than women.
    • Women are 100 % more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men.
    • 30% of men experience depression, yet only 1 in 4 actually talk about it. Men are 4 times more likely to commit suicide.
    • Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease, yet men do not know they have it. HPV can lead to other health issues later in life like cancer.
    • Erectile dysfunction is an early sign of cardiovascular disease (heart disease).
    • 1 in 2 men get cancer in their lifetime, for women it is 1 in 3. When cancer is found early, it is treatable.

    We can do something about this.  We can help our men take charge of their health. Women are often the driving force for the health of our family.

    1. Encourage our men to get their check-ups – it might require us scheduling the appointment. When they go, tell them you want to know their numbers – Blood pressure, hemoglobin A1 C (screening test for diabetes) and lipid panel. Depending on their age, they will need to be screened for sexually transmitted diseases, depression and prostate and colorectal cancer.
    2. Encourage our men to be active – they need to move. Tell them that exercise will improve their physical, mental and sexual health. They should get at least 30 minutes a day, however something is better than nothing. You can get some benefits if you join them. I love my three mile walks with my husband.
    3. Encourage our men to eat healthy every day with every meal – They need to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. They can try a green salad instead of fries.  They can drink water instead of soda or juice.   Remind them that alcohol is full of calories and they should learn to limit the amount. I hated cooking but when I changed my attitude towards cooking and started cooking for the love of my family, cooking became a joy.
    4. Encourage our men to learn about their family history. By knowing their family history, they can know what diseases they are at risk of getting and will work towards decreasing the risk. My father and his father died at a very young age due to complications of diabetes.  My brothers are aware they are at increased risk. My son is aware.
    5. Encourage our men to get their vaccines. It never made sense to me when the HPV vaccine was only given to girls. HPV does not discriminate – women and men are at risk. Boys and girls need to get vaccinated. Vaccines are not only for children. There are vaccines that adults need.  When you get your vaccine, ask them if they have gotten theirs.
    6. Remind our men that it takes two to get pregnant. They should use birth control  if they are not ready to have a baby. Condoms work if they are used properly all the time. The other added benefit of a condom is to protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
    7. Encourage our men to talk. They need to know it is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength to know when you need help. Check in with them and take time to listen.
    8. Encourage our men to quit smoking. There is help out there. They can call the 1-800-QUIT-LINE.
    9. Encourage our men to get enough sleep.  Sleep is important for our physical and mental health.
    10. Encourage our men to be with other men. I know I love my occasional ladies night so I will not be depriving my husband of his occasional men’s night. Loneliness is not healthy.

    When Friday comes and I am asked why I am wearing blue – I will answer – I am wearing blue this Friday because I love ‘him’. I want ‘him’ alive and healthy and I will do all that I can to make that happen. I hope you will join me.

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    Secure Your Copy of Letters to My Sisters by Dr. Ngozi Osuagwu.

    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.

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