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Men's Health Month: Colorado Doctor Stresses Importance Of Checking For 10-Year Risk Of Heart Disease

(CBS4)- June is Men's Health Month, a time when men are encouraged and reminded to make wellness a priority.

"It's really important for patients, particularly men who are older than 50 to have a yearly exam. I think younger patients should have an exam at least every three to five years. If they have a chronic condition or need a prescription, they should be seeing their physician once a year," said Dr. Scott Joy, Chief Medical Officer of the HealthONE Physician Services Group.

According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States. Dr. Joy recommends men understand their baseline blood pressure and get checked out for their 10-year risk of heart disease. Your health care provider will calculate that based on age, blood pressure, chronic conditions and other risks.

"In the past, we focused on what the cholesterol number was. But now, men should know their 10-year risk of heart disease. Anything higher than 7.5% requires further evaluation."

Smoking significantly increases your risk for heart disease. Dr. Joy recommends an ultrasound for men between the ages of 65 and 75 who have smoked 100 cigarettes or more over the course of their lifetimes.

"What we're looking for is an enlargement of the aorta, the large blood vessel that runs through the abdomen. This is something that if those break, men are likely to die from it. If you even have a small smoking history, a simple ultrasound can save your life."

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in men. Dr. Joy says men 45 years and older should talk to their doctor about what colon cancer screening is most appropriate for them.

"I think a lot of guys have been concerned about colonoscopies in the past and now it's nice that we have other tests that we can offer."

Dr. Joy says there are simple steps men can take to prevent serious disease and illness later in life. He recommends getting 30 minutes of exercise five times a week.

"This doesn't need to be hardcore CrossFit. It can be just simple walking. That's been shown to improve mental health and cardiovascular health."

Another thing you don't want to ignore is hearing loss.

"Hearing loss is one of the most preventable ways to reduce the risk of developing dementia later in life," says Dr. Joy. "If guys come in and say they can't hear very well, that's something we are very aggressive at evaluating and treating."



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