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On Father's Day, Give Dad Gift of Health
Date:6/18/2010

Staying healthy is part of being a good dad, expert suggests

FRIDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- This Father's Day, as dads unwrap their new ties and other tokens of gratitude, they might think about giving their families and themselves another kind of gift: a promise that they'll watch their health, suggests a family doctor at Loyola University Health System.

On average, men die younger than women and are more likely to die of heart disease, cancer, stroke and AIDS. But men are also much less likely than women to see their doctor, according to Dr. Aaron Michelfelder.

"Do your best to stay healthy. It's big part of being a good dad," he said in Loyola news release.

Men should visit their doctor at least once a year for a check-up and routine screenings, Michelfelder recommends.

"The earlier we diagnose such conditions as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cancer, the more successfully we can treat them," he said.

Michelfelder also suggests regular screening tests for certain conditions:

  • Body-mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on height and weight, should be checked yearly.
  • Men should start getting screened for colorectal cancer, beginning at age 50. Screening tests include colonoscopy, in which a doctor uses a tiny lighted tube to examine the colon (every 10 years), a fecal occult blood test (annually), and a fecal occult blood test with sigmoidoscopy (every five years).
  • A dental checkup at least once a year, but ideally every six months. Oral health problems can affect other areas of the body. Severe gum disease, for example, is associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and heart disease.
  • A fasting blood test should be given to men with risk factors for diabetes such as a family history of the disease, being overweight, or symptoms of diabetes such as increased thirst and unusually frequent urination. The tes
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