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June 13, 2019


Social Connections, Regular Checkups Important for Good Health

June 14, 2019


Social Connections, Regular Checkups Important for Good Health

WAUPACA, Wis – Men’s Health Week is June 10-16, 2019. It is held annually just before Father’s Day as a reminder for men to make good health a priority and to bring attention to preventable health concerns for boys and men.

“It’s a good reminder for men’s families and friends to encourage them to live a healthy lifestyle,” said Zachary Baeseman, MD, family medicine practitioner and associate medical director at ThedaCare Physicians-Wild Rose and Waupaca. “It’s important that men feel they have the support to talk about their health.”  

Dr. Baeseman said in his practice, one thing has become quite clear to him and that’s the importance of good social connections. He recalls a study done several years ago which determined that married men lived longer than unmarried men.

“I used to think it was because married men’s wives made them go to the doctor,” he said. “I’ve now come to believe it’s because their wives keep them more socially connected. In my circle of male friends, it’s our wives who often organize our get-togethers. Having good social interactions is more important for our health than we may realize.”

According to the Men’s Health Network, on average, men die five years earlier than women. And, they typically die from one of the top 10 health concerns – heart disease, cancer (lung, prostate, colon/rectal, testicular), injuries, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, influenza (pneumonia), suicide, kidney disease and Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Baeseman said men typically develop heart disease 10 years earlier than women.

“Maintaining good cardiovascular health and working out regularly is vital to men’s continued good health,” he said. “It’s important that men have a regular exercise practice that includes a cardiovascular activity.”

Dr. Baeseman recommends picking something you enjoy; if you don’t like to run, don’t become a runner.

“Bike, hike, kayak, snow ski, hunt – do something you enjoy because you’re more likely to keep up the practice,” he said. “Just be sure it gets your heart rate elevated for a period of time.”

Dr. Baeseman added that cardiovascular exercise isn’t all that’s needed.

“Muscle mass is also important; poor muscle mass is directly related to mortality,” he said. “It’s also good to include some weight-lifting exercises as part of your workout routine to keep muscles toned.”

Dr. Baeseman recommends tips for healthy living:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Engage in some type of physical activity every day.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet.
  • Maintain good control of blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.
  • Continue close relationships with a circle of friends
  • Get routine medical care and physical examinations.
  • Get recommended screenings for prostate and colon cancer.
  • Perform routine home testicle exams.
  • Keep mentally active.
  • Seek help for symptoms of depression.

Statistics show that men visit primary care providers less often than women. Men’s Health Week’s goal is to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injuries.

“Many men avoid seeing their health care providers and that’s not a smart plan in the long run,” said Dr. Baeseman. “In reality, they can be hurting the ones they love by not taking care of themselves.”

At times, men might need encouragement to make appointments with their provider.

“Some men don’t want any tests done – no colonoscopies or other tests – because they fear the procedure or possible results,” explained Dr. Baeseman. “I bring up the analogy of would they take their car to a mechanic and not have the oil changed or the tires rotated? So why wouldn’t they take care of their own body so it can run well for as long as possible? Fearing something that might happen is a mindset that needs to change.”

Dr. Baeseman said that if a man is having trouble talking with his doctor about his health concerns, then finding a different provider might help.

“Your doctor should be someone with whom you’re comfortable discussing your health issues. That’s why you’re there, to make your life better,” he said. “Your health belongs to you; you should cherish it and work toward staying healthy for as long as possible for the benefit of you and your family.”

About ThedaCare

For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization serves a community of more than 600,000 residents and employs more than 6,700 healthcare professionals throughout the regions. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 31 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.