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The Thing That Can Save Black Men’s Lives
What is The Urban Housecall?
Drs. Karla and Rob Robinson are the hosts of the popular radio show “The Urban Housecall.” They’re also a happily married couple!
One of the many topics that this dynamic health duo is promoting is men’s health, ranging from high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes to nutrition, fitness, weight control, and emotional health.
So, what is their prescription for getting black men healthier?
Men’s Health: Today’s Statistics
Statistically speaking, almost half of all men under the age of 50 don’t have a primary care physician and therefore:
Don’t take part in screening tests and preventive health measures.
Are 2-3 times more likely to die from highly preventable and/or treatable chronic diseases and illnesses.
Early detection and intervention can improve this health disparity in the urban community. Below is the top thing black men can do to get and stay healthy.
In addition to other tests that your doctor may recommend based on your health status, here are the screening tests that men over the age of 30 should be getting:
• Waist Circumference: Central obesity is best measured by waist circumference and is an indicator of the possible risk of diabetes, high cholesterol. High blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
• Blood Pressure Screening: Heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure are the most common complications of untreated high blood pressure. High blood pressure can also lead to erectile dysfunction. 40% of African-American adults have high blood pressure and less than 30% of them have treatment for it.
• Cholesterol: Many African-Americans have an increased risk of heart disease and cholesterol screening should begin at age 20. Assuming cholesterol levels are normal, they should be checked every 5 years thereafter.
• EKG: An EKG is a test used to check for changes in the electrical activity of the heart. Issues pertaining to the heart such as damage to the heart muscle, enlargement of the heart, heart murmurs/rhythm problems can all be detected by using an EKG.
• Vitamin D: Statistic on the rates of vitamin D deficiency in African-Americans varies widely from 60% to over 90%. Vitamin D levels are helpful in protecting against high blood pressure, diabetes, certain cancers, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.
What if your loved one is avoiding going to the doctor?
Below are two tips that can help men take the leap:
Let him know that their life matters. Express to your loved ones how important it is to you for them to be around for family and friends and more importantly for you. Often times, men feel as though they are too busy providing for their families and can’t take the time to make their health a priority. Let them know they can’t afford NOT to. If we encourage our men to increase their expectations for longevity, they can have a greater appreciation for living a longer and healthier life.
Use analogies they can relate to. Remind him that his health is very much like a car. It’s important to do regularly scheduled maintenance to keep it running, as it should. Just as he is willing to get oil changes and tune-ups regularly, make sure he visits his doctor to tune up his body, and check under his hood.