Men need a user manual for good health

Father’s Day is upon us, and as in-house doctors, we’d like to prescribe good health as the best gift you can give yourself or the men you love. Few investments promise lifetime returns as profitable as a solid body.

June is National Men’s Health Month, and we’ve joined with Gift of Life to raise awareness about the medical disparities that commonly affect men. We strongly lend our voice to the initiatives of the Men’s Health and Prostate Cancer Program, urging men to seek routine medical care and proactive treatment for the disease.

Did you know that American men live sicker and die younger than American women? A higher percentage of men have no health care coverage and have half the number of preventive medical visits than their female counterparts. This results in a higher mortality rate and an overall lower quality of life.

Although men often notice minor signs that their vehicles are not working properly, they often ignore repeated signals from their body that they are overdue for a “tune-up”. Too often, our male patients let their health guarantees expire and dithered over their body maintenance plans. Then they come to our office in terrible pain or with the serious complications of a prolonged illness. Like mechanics, doctors are sometimes limited in what we can do when advanced illness limits the traditional care pathway.

So what can we do to keep our body moving full steam ahead without emergency towing services?


The answer is to act now!

A healthy future is made up of smart choices today – simple things like eating a nutritious diet and getting enough sleep and exercise. Also, never put off regular “tune-ups”. Our doctors need to be given the ability to “look under the hood” and recommend preventative screenings and strategies to keep us properly aligned.

Southeast Texas has a large population of medically underserved people who face additional hurdles when trying to keep their health on track. Some don’t have health insurance or can’t pay their high deductibles. Many struggle to keep appointments during a demanding work week or simply don’t have access to transportation. Language barriers can also be an insurmountable obstacle.

Our community is fortunate to benefit from the free services provided by Gift of Life, a non-profit organization that overcomes such disparities to ensure that local men receive the care they deserve.

Throughout the year, Gift of Life runs free men’s health screenings in Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange. Eligible customers in Southeast Texas receive free blood testing for prostate cancer (PSA) and primary care testing for insidious conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, HIV, hepatitis C and hypertension. Screenings are complemented by comprehensive consultations with on-site physicians.

In addition to volunteering, Dr. Fowler also oversees many highly trained medical volunteers from the Southeast Texas Baptist Hospitals Physician Residency Program who help navigate clients to warmer roads. Screenings like these save lives! We have seen clients in critical condition immediately receive the emergency response they need.

With proper care, our bodies are built to last. If we want to continue “navigating” long into the future, we must be responsible owners and operators. It is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves and to those who love us.

Please join us in celebrating National Men’s Health Month and Father’s Day by pledging to lead a healthier and happier lifestyle.

John Fowler, MD works with Beaumont Internal Medicine & Geriatric Associates. Santos Soberon, MD, is a prostate cancer survivor and also works with Beaumont Internal Medicine & Geriatric Associates. Readers can call the Gift of Life at (409) 833-3663 or visit giftoflifebmt.org to determine if they are eligible to sign up for a free men’s health screening. If you have a possible guest column for the company, send your idea or the column itself to [email protected] If you have something to say, we want to hear from you!

About Irene J. O'Donnell

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