October 2015 Health Tips

Learn how to ask questions about your health and live a healthier life.

At El Camino Health, we want you to take charge of your health. The best way to do that is to talk to your doctor and learn how you can maintain good health. The Men’s Health Program is dedicated to providing the services you need to stay healthy, and educating you about ways to improve your health and well-being.

Questions for Good Health

These are important questions that every man should ask:


What signs and symptoms should I see my doctor about?

Make an appointment to see your doctor if you have:

  • Unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more.
  • Pain without any obvious reason.
  • Chest pain with exertion or exercise.
  • Swelling or lumps in your testicles, neck, armpits, groin or breast.
  • Prolonged fever.
  • Exhaustion and fatigue not related to activities.
  • Indigestion or difficulty swallowing.
  • Blood from any orifice.
  • Problems urinating.
  • Changes in a mole or strange white patches in your mouth.

What do I need to know about sex?

Despite what you’ve heard, as long as you’re healthy, sex won’t kill you. Also, it’s normal to:

  • Have some difficulty having and maintaining an erection when you’re over 50, especially if you’re taking medications for high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • Notice that your sexual experiences are different now than they were in your 20s.

What are the most important tests I should have?

Diagnosing problems early offers the best chance for successful treatment and can help avoid complications. Ask your doctor when you should have these tests:

  • Cholesterol and lipid testing. Getting these checked is important at every age — especially if you have a family history of heart attacks before age 50.
  • Blood pressure. High blood pressure left undiagnosed and untreated can lead to kidney problems, blindness and trouble with sexual function.
  • Diabetes screening. Many men gain weight as they age, which puts them at risk for diabetes. Get your blood sugar tested to see where you stand.
  • Colonoscopy. Get a colonoscopy at age 50, or earlier if you have a family history of colorectal cancer.
  • Prostate screening. Ask your doctor which tests he or she recommends for you.
  • Vision and hearing. As soon as you notice a difference in your vision or hearing, it’s time to get your eyes examined and your hearing tested and corrected.

Is snoring bad for you?

Snoring can be a sign of a sleep disorder. Men who snore often have sleep apnea, are fatigued during the day, and are at risk for a heart attack.

Healthy Behaviors

Men are prone to certain health issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep issues and problems with urination. You can help prevent them or reduce their severity when you:

  • Stop smoking. Determine to quit, perhaps with the help of gum, lozenges or smoking cessation classes. Smoking has been linked to cancer, hypertension, stroke, emphysema, poor sexual performance and mental decline.
  • Manage your weight. A healthy body weight has myriad advantages, while excess weight can lead to a long list of health issues. Overweight, middle-aged men tend to have a higher risk of heart problems and strokes, and die younger than their thinner peers.
  • Take charge of your stress. Modern life has many inherent stressors. Regular exercise, yoga, meditation and even counseling can help. Frequent stress can lead to fatigue, poor judgment, bad decisions and feelings of anxiety. Find an upcoming stress-reduction class.
  • Check cholesterol and blood pressure regularly. They can lead to heart disease and stroke. Cholesterol can start climbing as early as your 20s and increases with age. High blood pressure risk begins around age 35, but it can also occur in younger men.
  • Pay attention to sleep issues. The amount of restful sleep you get — or don’t get —impacts your health. Snoring and sleep apnea are twice as common in men as women. Talk to your doctor about any sleep concerns so you can avoid loss of energy, focus and vitality.
  • Look into your testosterone levels. Testosterone levels fall naturally with age and can lead to low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, weight gain and a serious case of the blues. If these issues sound familiar, ask your doctor if your testosterone level should be checked.
  • Take care of your heart. Between 70 to 89 percent of sudden cardiac events occur in men. Since men tend to be more reluctant to have regular medical checkups, signs of cardiovascular risk may go undetected until it’s too late. See your doctor to assess your risk.
  • Don’t ignore urination difficulties. As you age, your prostate naturally enlarges and begins pressing on the urethra, making it harder for urine to pass. Prostate problems can be more manageable when treated early, so see a urologist as soon as you detect trouble. If you’re over 40 or at risk for prostate cancer, ask your doctor about a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.
  • Play safely. Sometimes men overdo it with sports or home improvement projects and accidentally injure themselves. You can prevent “weekend warrior” injuries by keeping limber and flexible with moderate daily exercise.
  • Hang out with friends. Friendships can offer a significant form of support. The value you get from friends can have a positive effect on your outlook and health.