An important theme of the Men’s Health Conference held every year by the Louisiana Men’s Health Organization is that men can and should be more proactive about their health.
At this year’s conference — the organization’s 10th — hundreds of men on Saturday visited Pennington Biomedical Research Center, where they got free health screenings, heard from physicians on the latest medical news and learned a lot about their own, individual health.
Missed the conference? Or just need a review of some of the information shared?
Try this quiz based on a sampling of some of the men’s health information made available there.
1. It’s rare, but testicular cancer is actually the most common cancer in males between the ages of:
(a) 55 and 70
(b) 25 and 40
(c) 20 and 35
(d) 65 and 80
Answer: (c) Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men between the ages of 20 and 35. It’s important to do a testicular exam every month, preferably after a hot shower or bath. Look for lumps or bumps. It’s normal for one testicle to be slighter larger than the other. Also tell the doctor if you have a dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin. Testicular cancer is almost always curable if caught early and treated.
2. True or false? Someone with pre-diabetes will inevitably get Type 2 diabetes.
Answer: False. By cutting back on fat and calories in the diet; exercising about 30 minutes a day, five days a week — brisk walking is a good way; and losing weight, pre-diabetes can be reversed, meaning that Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or completely prevented.
3. Which of the following is a medical reading in the normal range?
(a) Blood pressure of less than 120 over less than 80.
(b) Total cholesterol of less than 200 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter)
(c) “Bad” cholesterol of less than 100 mg/dL
(d) “Good” cholesterol of less than 40 mg/dL (for men)s
(e) Triglycerides less than 150 mg/dL
Answer: All of the above.
4. A checkup schedule that includes a blood-pressure check every two years and a complete physical; cholesterol test and screening for cancers of the thyroid, testicles, lymph nodes, mouth and skin every three years is a good routine for men, beginning in their:
Answer: (a) The above is a good checkup schedule for men in their 20s. In their 30s and 40s, men should move the complete physicals up to every two years. In their 40s, men should also have screenings for prostate cancer, if in a high-risk group, as well as an annual stool test for colon and rectal cancer. In their 50s, men should add a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, to screen for colon cancer, every three to five years.
5. True or false? The symptoms of a transient ischemic attack (TIA) are distinctly different from those of a stroke.
Answer: False. A TIA is a “mini stroke” that has the exact same symptoms of a stroke but usually lasts only a few minutes. About 15 percent of strokes are preceded by TIAs, so don’t ignore them. Call 9-1-1 or seek emergency medical help if you experience sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg; sudden confusion and trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing; dizziness, loss of balance, trouble walking; or sudden, severe headaches with no known cause.
6. When detected and treated early, colorectal or colon cancer is curable:
(a) 75 percent of the time
(b) 50 percent of the time
(c) 90 percent of the time
Answer: (c) Colon cancer is curable 90 percent of the time when caught and treated early. Beginning at age 50, both men and women should have a colorectal cancer screening. Those with risk factors such as family history of the disease should talk to their doctor about earlier or more frequent screening. Different screening tests include the fecal occult blood test; sigmoidoscopy, which checks the lower part of the colon; colonoscopy, which checks the entire colon; and a double-contrast barium enema.
7. True or false? The symptoms of high blood pressure are hard to miss, for the average person.
Answer: False. High blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, usually has no symptoms; it’s called the “Silent Killer.” Get blood pressure checked regularly by a doctor. Prescription medication; exercise; and meals low in saturated fat, cholesterol and fat are ways to treat the condition, as are limiting alcohol to two drinks a day (one, for women) and losing weight, if overweight.
8. True or false? It doesn’t much matter what kind of clothing you cover up with, to stay out of the sun.
Answer: False. Densely woven, bright- or dark-colored fabric offers the best protection from the sun. A thin, white T-shirt, for example, provides an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of about 5. Blue jeans, on the other hand, have an UPF of approximately 1,700.
Sources: Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates; Men’s Health Network; American Diabetes Association; Baton Rouge Cardiology Center; Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medial Center; Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center; American Stroke Association; and the Skin Cancer Foundation.