Focus on men's health: All year, not just in November

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), one in nine men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. ACS estimates that nearly 164,690 new cases will have been identified in 2018 and about 29,430 men will die from the disease. So it’s imperative that men ages 45 and older speak with their NEMG primary care provider (PCP) about getting a PSA test, a routine blood analysis that screens for prostate cancer and related conditions. 

Probably the greatest emphasis during Movember -- the month (November) when many men grow facial hair to raise awareness about taking care of their bodies and minds-- is on prostate cancer. And while good health should be a year-round concern, now is a perfect time for men to consider their physical and mental selves. 

With all the attention on prostate health, it’s also important that men — and those who love and care about them — consider other health issues. They include topics that might be a bit delicate to discuss, namely low testosterone (low T), erectile dysfunction (ED) and fertility.

“There can be a reluctance on the part of men to discuss those issues,” said Matthew Wosnitzer, MD, a NEMG urologist in Fairfield. “My goal is to emphasize for patients that addressing these sensitive issues may benefit other aspects of their health.”

For instance, erectile dysfunction may indicate a heart condition, and low T can be associated with depression. “Men’s health is like a bicycle wheel’s hub and spokes,” said Dr. Wosnitzer. “Each component fits together and each one is equally important.”

That’s why Dr. Wosnitzer advises his male patients to see their primary care provider for blood tests to check blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and other levels that can be related not only to urological conditions but also cardiac, endocrine and mental health. “NEMG prides itself on taking a multidisciplinary approach,” he said. “Men’s health is best managed by a team of experts with multiple perspectives.”

Robert McLean, MD, a NEMG rheumatologist in New Haven, says “I see male patients who have musculoskeletal problems,” including various types of arthritis, many causes of back pain and the frequent tendon and ligament sprains and strains seen in “weekend warriors.” In addition to diagnosing and treating various conditions, Dr. McLean emphasizes eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. 

“Excessive weight is often related to degenerative arthritic changes in men as they age, especially in their hips and knees,” he explained. He suggests keeping a food and fitness diary as a smart way to visually track daily routines and make necessary adjustments.

Dr. McLean consults with his male patients’ PCPs and may refer them to other specialists. “One of the advantages of being in a large network like NEMG is the ability for practitioners to communicate seamlessly using Epic, our electronic medical records system,” he said. And patients using Epic’s MyChart online portal can easily access their complete medical records, see test results and schedule appointments. “It’s as smooth as it could possibly be,” he said. 

To find a NEMG urologist or primary care provider near you, call 855-636-4637.