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Men, Take Charge of Your Health

Healthcare game plan for men

Feel Better and Live Longer with a Healthcare Game Plan Tailored to Your Needs.

Most men need to pay more attention to their health, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Besides taking more chances than women (they’re more likely to smoke, drink too much alcohol and make risky choices), they also tend to put off health exams and medical care. In fact, about 1 in 4 doctors reported that up to half of their male patients failed to fill prescriptions or follow up with a test ordered for their condition, according to a recent survey by the American Academy of Family Physicians. If that’s been the case for you, start with periodic complete physicalsby a primary care provider, says Luis Espina, MD, a family medicine physician affiliated with Clara Maass Medical Center and a member of the Barnabas Health Medical Group.

“Having baseline and screening tests allows us to get to know the patients so we can make smarter decisions about their care,” he says. “I try to motivate my patients, whether with persuasion or encouragement,” he says. “My visits tend to run a little long, but I find that when I take the time to understand their needs and recommend a course of treatment to my patients, men in particular, it’s amazing how they actually respond. On the other hand, if I just write prescriptions and a referral without engaging with them, they generally don’t follow through and most likely won’t come back.”

Keeping vaccinations and annual screenings up to date is another priority for Dr. Espina, and an area where men often do not keep up. “I can’t tell you how many patients who work in construction have told me they have not had a tetanus booster since they were 16,” he says.

The checklist above provides an overview of checkups, exams and screenings men should have, but it can be customized according to a patient’s needs and his physician’s advice, Dr. Espina says. For example, a colonoscopy would be highly recommended for a man with a family history of rectal cancer. “This is the benefit of having a primary care doctor who truly understands the patient and their healthcare needs,” says Dr. Espina. “I will sit with them and help prioritize what screenings or treatments they need most.”

To contact Luis Espina, MD, call: 973.542.2880. To find a doctor in the Barnabas Health Medical Group, visit: www.rwjbh.org/doctors.