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Father’s Day is a great time to celebrate dad, and it’s also an important time to show him how much you love and appreciate him by encouraging him to stay healthy. June is also National Men’s Health Month: a perfect opportunity to focus attention and awareness on preventable men’s health problems that steal loved ones from us too quickly.

Let’s take the opportunity to educate not only our dads, but our brothers, uncles, cousins, sons and other special men in our lives to make good health-care choices that will keep them with us for years to come.

Some men have long-held feelings of embarrassment or nervousness about medical procedures, while others may feel like going to the doctor will be perceived as a sign of weakness. You might ask yourself, “How can I help the men in my life get past these challenges to make better choices about their health?”

Educating men about what to expect during a check-up can also help relieve any underlying fear or uncertainty preventing them from making that initial appointment. Most annual exams include a physical exam, a vision and hearing check, a painless testicular exam, and screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, infectious diseases, and diabetes. For more mature men, additional screenings for osteoporosis, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and specific cancers are especially important. You can remind men that cancer treatments and complications from diabetes are far more unpleasant and uncomfortable than a 15-minute preventive care exam.

It is also important to encourage men to receive proper emotional care and support for critical mental health problems, including stress, depression, and other mental health issues that can result in hypertension, high blood pressure, ulcers, and even heart disease. Remind men that there’s no shame in seeking help from a healthcare professional.

And for men who just need a little help getting started, offer to help them find a doctor with whom they can feel comfortable discussing private health matters. Encourage them to call an insurance company or a doctor’s office to learn more about specific health care costs and coverage. By providing moral support and encouragement, you can make a difference and help the men you care about most to take that first critical step towards improving their health.

At Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care, we educate patients, their families, and our community through programs that enable individuals to make better-informed health-care decisions.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

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