• What Integrative Health Screenings Should All Men Have?

    by Dr. Payal Bhandari
    on Sep 13th, 2017

Studies have consistently shown the same bitter truth: men are much more likely to die of any chronic disease than women, and male mortality rates have slowly but steadily risen over the past decades, as well.

Traditional allopathic medicine often has no choice but to focus on the treatment of already existing diseases to avert their progression. However, this is not enough. Integrative health for men primarily focuses on preventative care, aiming to convey the importance of men developing a more health-conscious attitude, and building a trusting relationship with their integrative men's health specialist before the development of major illnesses.

In addition to prevention, integrative health physicians recommend numerous health screenings for men starting at a relatively young age, since most diseases begin to silently develop decades before the emergence of the first noticeable symptoms. Annual visits to an integrative physician are recommended, where all future health concerns can be addressed and screened for; including the top five most deadly diseases for men. Specific testing methods are available to detect each before serious health damage occurs. These are the following:

Heart Disease

Cardiovascular diseases are considered the number one killer of men: they are responsible for over 25% of male deaths. Heart disease can present as elevated blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, dementia, swollen legs, arrhythmia, breathing problems, or even be masked as heartburn. While hereditary components plays a small role in the development of cardiovascular disease, our lifestyle is the most important contributor. When we alter certain key lifestyle habits, we can reverse the disease progression. Integrative health care utilizes various tests to aid in early detection of developing problems.

A yearly health check — usually starting in the mid-twenties — is highly recommended to monitor blood pressure, pulse rate, heart rhythm, and weight. An integrative physician can order various blood tests to identify issues with high cholesterol, sugar, nutrient deficiencies, liver & kidney congestion, or elevated inflammatory markers.   These tests may be representative of increasing systemic inflammation and the onset of heart disease

Stroke

Strokes are when blood flow suddenly cannot be easily delivered to the brain cells. Strokes are 99% preventable but still continue to claim over 200,000 lives each year in the United States. Tragically, men are at the highest risk for death or lifelong disability from strokes.

Unhealthy long-standing habits are often at the root cause of strokes. Utilizing preventative care is crucial and incredibly beneficial. An annual visit with your integrative physician is recommended.  Checking blood pressure, pulse, and along with certain laboratory test (ie., lipid panel, blood glucose, inflammatory markers) can certainly help define one’s stroke risk.

Prostate Cancer

While prostate cancer is the most commonly occurring type of cancer among men, it is highly responsive to treatment.  Through early screening, it is possible to prevent prostate cancer in many cases. The primary risk factors are primarily attributed to one’s diet, age, smoking and alcohol habits.

Integrative medicine suggests beginning prostate cancer screening between the age of 40 to 50 depending on the ethnicity. Checking for prostate inflammation through bloodwork is helpful at assessing one’s risk for prostate cancer.

Diabetes

The presence of abnormally high levels of glucose in the blood affects more than 1 in 10 adult Americans, with men being at an increased risk to develop diabetes compared to women. Genetic factors certainly play a part in disease development; however, diabetes is primarily related to lifestyle habits linked to obesity, high blood pressure, or metabolic syndrome. Therefore, all health tests recommended for heart disease screening are valuable tools in the hands of a physician to detect the early signs of diabetes development. Testing is recommended in the 20’s since pre-diabetes often develops 20 years prior to the official diagnosis of diabetes.

Suicide

Studies show that men experience mental and emotional crises to a more terminal degree than women: men are about four times as likely to take their own lives, leading to the devastating epidemic of suicide that kills tens of thousands of males in the United States annually.

Unlike physical health problems, ongoing internal distress can be primarily detected by a knowledgeable men's health specialist who not only screens all patients for depression, but focuses on developing an empathetic, personable, and long-term relationship with them as well. During these regularly scheduled visits, other underlying health problems or nutritional deficiencies can be addressed as well, to improve overall well-being and boost one’s confidence and outlook on life.

The Benefits of Working With an Integrative Physician

Integrative medicine emphasizes the importance of taking preventative measures and early intervention.  They are crucial to avoid deadly diseases and changing the disease’s trajectory. Do not wait until troubling symptoms emerge; opt for a disease-free life — or positive prognosis and improved health conditions — by taking advantage of what integrative health care has to offer.

Dr. Payal Bhandari, M.D. is a highly trained and nationally recognized integrative functional medicine physician. She offers her clinical expertise in integrative health for men. Dr. Bhandari provides personalized preventive care methods to restore or improve men's physiological well-being. Make an appointment with at Dr. Bhandari’s Advanced Health San Francisco-based office today!

Author Dr. Payal Bhandari Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is a leading practitioner of integrative and functional medicine in San Francisco.

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