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Man Doing Push-Ups at Home

Focus Turns to Men’s Health in June

With Father’s Day falling in June each year, it seems appropriate to focus on men’s health in June as well.

Men aren’t as healthy as women, statistically speaking. On average, men live five fewer years than women. They’re at higher risk of heart disease, lung cancer and HIV. Men also have to deal with the potential for prostate cancer unlike women. But men don’t escape breast cancer.
While rare, one in every 100 breast cancer diagnoses are in men.

What’s the deal, gentlemen?

Man Smiling in a Garden

What the Data Says

Before getting into the “why,” let’s look at the “what.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have the statistics on men’s health. It’s not pretty.
 

  • 13.2% — Men aged 18 and over in fair or poor health
  • 30.9% — Men aged 18 and over who had five or more drinks on at least one day in the past year
  • 42.4% — Men aged 18 and over who do not meet minimum physical activity guidelines
  • 14.1% — Men aged 18 and over who smoke cigarettes
  • 40.5% — Men aged 20 and over with obesity
  • 51.9% — Men aged 20 and over with high blood pressure
  • 12.3% — Males under 65 without health insurance coverage

Now, the Why

Women have always lived longer than men. It has a lot to do with a combination of biological, social, and behavioral factors.
 

  • Biological — There are some theories a woman’s X chromosome provides better protection against genetic diseases than a man’s Y chromosome. Estrogen seems to do a better job of protecting against heart disease.
  • Social — Work-related stress is seen as a contributor to men’s vulnerability. More women in the workplace could be closing that gap. Women, however, have larger social networks and supports than men. That’s psychologically helpful.
  • Behavioral — Men are more apt to do risky things from the time they’re boys. They have this daredevil mentality that is sometimes carried through adulthood. Men also tend to be more aggressive and violent. A man is four times more likely to die from homicide or suicide than a woman. Men are also more likely to smoke, abuse alcohol, abuse drugs, eat poorly and not exercise. Men are also more likely to avoid trips to the doctor.

Son and Father Fixing a Bike

Make Basic Changes

The steps men should take to stay healthy are the same steps we should all take to stay healthy. They include:
 

  • Avoiding all forms of tobacco
  • Eating more fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean proteins, and whole grains
  • Eating less red meat, processed foods, sugary drinks, sweets, salty foods
  • Exercising 30 minutes a day
  • Exercising for strength two to three times a week
  • Stretching two to three times a week
  • Limiting yourself to two drinks a day
  • Reducing stress
  • Avoiding risky behavior
  • Getting regular checkups, including prostate checks, screenings, and immunizations.
  • Protecting your skin from the sun
  • Looking for the joy in life

Men Need Doctors Too

Having a doctor you feel comfortable talking to is important. AltaMed has skilled physicians who speak your language. Use the Find a Doctor tool to locate a doctor near you who speaks your language and get on the road to good health. You can also call (888) 499-9303.

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AltaMEd Mens Health

Men’s Health Issues: Common Challenges, Overcoming Myths

In honor of Men’s Health Month, we are taking a look at some of the unique health challenges men face. Men are more likely to develop health conditions like:
 

  • Heart disease
  • Prostate cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol

These are just some of the many potential health conditions men may face in life. Fear is one of the main reasons why the majority of men avoid going to the doctor. Even though going to the doctor can be nerve racking, it is important to know your health status and catch problems early on.

Most Common Men’s Health Problems

Section 1 mens health

Because of their reluctance to see a doctor, men are more likely than women to be diagnosed with a disease or illness when it is further along, and treatment is more complicated.
 

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the U.S., accounting for one in every four male deaths. Heart disease is more common among whites, African-Americans, and Latinos.
  • Approximately one man in every nine will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
  • Studies show that men under 50 are more likely to have high blood pressure than women of the same age. High blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, or kidney failure if left undiagnosed and untreated.
  • Men are almost twice as likely as women to die from accidents including a fall, a car accident, drowning, or violence.

Bad Health Habits

Section 2 mens health

The numbers above seem high until you consider that men are more likely to have unhealthy habits that lead to many of these issues.
 

  • Almost 16% of men smoke cigarettes and they often start before they turn 18 years old.
  • Almost 31% of men over age 18 have five or more alcoholic beverages a day.
  • High blood pressure in men is usually a result of stress, diet, alcohol, and tobacco use. (For women its most often linked to obesity or hormonal changes).
  • According to the Census Bureau, men make up nearly 55% of those without health insurance in the U.S.
  • Perhaps most dangerous of all, up to 60% of men are unlikely to seek medical care, even when they believe that they may be seriously ill. The Centers for Disease Control found that men are three times as likely to go without a doctor visit for five or more years.

Myths About Men’s Health

Section 3 mens health

Unfortunately, our cultures around the world tell men that they should be tough, brave, and strong. They are encouraged to “man up” to earn respect. One of the side effects of this is that men often believe going to the doctor is as a sign of weakness.
 

  • Men don’t want to change – the doctor may advise they lose weight, stop smoking, cut down on alcohol
  • Everything’s probably fine – men may not have any symptoms, so they don’t want to “waste” their time or money
  • They can play through it – athletes do it all the time, so many men believe they can just deal with the pain

Bottom Line

Section 4 mens health

Encourage the men in your life to understand how important it is to seek regular care for their health. Living longer and healthier requires effort —especially getting routine medical checkups, quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol, getting or staying active, and seeking mental health help if it is needed.

Men should also find a doctor they are comfortable talking with about all of these issues and concerns. See our doctor finder if you or a loved one doesn’t have a regular doctor, or needs to find one that speaks your preferred language.

The Department of Health and Human Services has found that men are often reluctant to get health information in traditional places like doctor’s offices. In that case, the mobile AltaMed clinic may be just what the doctor ordered!

We’ve made health care easier than ever with bilingual staff, health screenings, and education in locations that are convenient to you. Check out the information below to find locations and hours that are convenient for you.

Northgate Markets throughout Los Angeles and Orange County
 

  • Follow AltaMed on Facebook and Instagram for updates on screening dates and locations.

The Mexican Consulate

The Mexican Consulate will be providing glucose and blood pressure screenings monthly from 9am-12pm at 2401 W 6th St, Los Angeles. Below are the dates you can get screened:
 

  • Thursday, June 27
  • Thursday, July 25
  • Thursday, August 22
  • Thursday, September 26
  • Thursday, October 24
  • Thursday, November 28

City of HPPD National Night Out

AltaMed will be providing free adult health screenings and resources at 6542 Miles Ave., in Huntington Park on Tuesday, August 6. The Huntington Park Police Department will be hosting this event and there will be community organizations, food, and giveaways.

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Test Diabetes

Stop Diabetes Before It Ever Starts

Chances are, you may know someone living with diabetes. The latest National Diabetes Statistics Report, published by the CDC, revealed that 37.3 million Americans, or 11% of the population, have been diagnosed with the disease. Perhaps even more shocking, an estimated 96 million U.S. adults (38%) are living with prediabetes. 

As of 2019, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, with more than 280,000 lives lost. Total medical costs and costs from lost productivity, unemployment, and premature mortality totaled $327 billion. 

Yet, controlling it is relatively easy. Type 2 diabetes — the most common form of diabetes — is often the result of the poor choices we make. Type 1 diabetes — the body’s inability to make insulin — is genetic. In this blog, we will focus on the diabetes we can control. 

Person over a Scale

Facts and Figures

More than 37 million people, or 11.3% of the U.S. population, have diabetes. More than 28.5 million of those are adults. Another 200,000 are adolescents and children. More than 8.5 million, or 23% of adults with diabetes, are undiagnosed. 

People with elevated blood sugar, but not high enough to have diabetes, have prediabetes. It affects 96 million people over the age of 18, or 38% of the adult population in the U.S. More than 26 million people over the age of 65, or 48.8% of that population, have prediabetes. 

Anywhere from 15% to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop diabetes in as little as five years if they don’t get active or drop some weight. Most people with type 2 diabetes had prediabetes first. 

Some people will have prediabetes for years but never have any clear symptoms until it turns into type 2 diabetes. Get your blood sugar tested if you have any of these risk factors: 
 

  • Overweight 

  • High blood pressure 

  • Have a low level of “good” cholesterol 

  • 45 years old or older 

  • Have a history of heart disease or stroke 

  • Are depressed 

  • Smoke 

  • Parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes 

  • Physically active less than three times a week 

  • Had gestational diabetes while pregnant 

  • Gave birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds 

  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome which makes it difficult to get pregnant 

Race and ethnicity can also be a factor with African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans at higher risk. 

Family Playing at the Beach

How to Stop Diabetes 

Too many people don’t take diabetes seriously. Yet, two out of three people with diabetes will die from a heart attack or stroke. 

You don’t have to succumb to a diabetes diagnosis, however. Just a few steps will help put you on a path that could keep you out of diabetes’ clutches. 
 

  • Drop the extra weight. You don’t need to do anything dramatic. Your doctor can help you set realistic goals of losing a pound or two a week with changes to your diet. The American Diabetes Association recommends people with prediabetes lose 7% to 10% of body weight to stop the onset of diabetes. 

  • Get active. Being active helps you lose weight. It will help lower your blood sugar. It can boost your sensitivity to insulin which helps control blood sugar. Try for 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day, like brisk walking, biking, or swimming. Also, don’t sit for extended periods of time. 

  • Eat fiber-rich foods. They fill you up, which keeps you from snacking and promotes weight loss. It also slows your body’s ability to absorb sugar and fat. Eat fruits and vegetables like apples, tomatoes, oranges, bananas, and peppers. Eat leafy greens, broccoli, and cauliflower. Add beans, chickpeas, and lentils to your diet. Whole grains like whole-wheat pasta and bread, whole-grain rice, quinoa, and whole oats are beneficial. 

  • Eat healthy fats. These unsaturated fats promote good heart health. 

  • Eat healthy fats. These unsaturated fats promote good heart health. 
     

    • Canola, cottonseed, olive, and sunflower oil 

    • Almonds, flaxseed, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds

    • Fatty fish like cod, mackerel, salmon, sardines, and tuna;

    Limit dairy to low-fat and replace beef with lean chicken and pork. 

  • Avoid fad diets. You need to make lasting choices. Fad diets may help you drop weight, but you need to change your eating habits not just now, but for the future. Think about dividing your plate so you have one half covered with fruits and non-starchy vegetables, one fourth covered in whole grains, and one fourth with protein. 

We're Here to Help

AltaMed understands that lifestyle changes can be difficult. We help support you with several programs to keep you fit and help you take control of your diabetes or keep you from ever getting it. 
 

  • STOMP — Family Health and Fitness Program — STOMP is Solutions & Treatment to Obesity Management and Prevention. This fun, interactive childhood healthy weight program helps kids and their families develop healthy habits around nutrition, fitness, stress management, and more – to help them grow healthy for life. STOMP is a full year of hands-on support that includes visits with doctors, nutritionists, fitness instructors, and other health professionals. It’s available for free for qualifying AltaMed members and their families. Locations include Anaheim (714) 678-2143, Boyle Heights (323) 307-0479, El Monte (626) 582-1428, Santa Ana (714) 919-0280, and Huntington Beach (714) 375-2261

  • Diabetes Prevention Program — This year-long program helps you set goals and overcome challenges with support from a trained wellness coach and a registered dietician. It is available at our Los Angeles and Orange County locations to AltaMed patients over the age of 17. Call (323) 558-7606 for more information or email HealthEducation@altamed.org

  • Diabetes Management Program — This six-class educational program is available to diabetes patients 18 and older. Participants work with a Health Educator to develop practical skills to help manage their diabetes, prevent complications, and improve quality of life.

  • Diabetes Group Visits — Learning how to manage your type 2 diabetes successfully can help you lead a long and normal life. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been diagnosed recently or had it for a while. The program uses evidence-based principles and focuses on nutrition, activity, medication compliance, and self-care. The goal is to help participants lower their HbA1c scores and keep them in the healthy range. You will meet with a team of professionals, including a doctor and pharmacist, for six weeks. It’s a friendly and welcoming environment where you can get to know others with diabetes and share your success. It is available at all Los Angeles and Orange County locations to AltaMed patients over 18 years old. Call (323) 558-7606 for more information. 

  • Community Health Specialist Support — For patients with diabetes who are looking for additional help, AltaMed Community Health Specialists (CHS) can help provide medication and health appointment coordination, as well as assist with securing financial resources. AltaMed CHS will work with you and your medical team to achieve your individual health goals and improve overall care. 

  • Nutrition Counseling — A balanced diet is essential for people with diabetes. Work with an AltaMed Registered Dietitian (RD) to develop personalized meal plans that will create better eating habits and a healthier lifestyle. This service is open to patients of all ages.

Focus Turns to Men’s Health in June