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A Perfect Father's Day Gift

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A Perfect Father's Day Gift

Father’s Day is right around the corner and here at Cooper Aerobics, we understand the importance of fathers. The “Father of Aerobics” himself founded Cooper Aerobics almost 45 years ago and at the rightful age of 83, Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH is a perfect health example for all males and dads.

It’s estimated about half of men ages 18 to 50 don't have a primary-care physician and a third haven't had a checkup in more than a year, a 2011 survey in Esquire magazine shows.

This Father’s Day encourage your dad to get an annual physical exam. Need extra support talking him into an exam? Michael C. Chapman, MD, a Cooper Clinic preventive medicine physician and Medical Director of Cooper Clinic Platinum offers the essential reasons why every man at every age needs an annual physical exam.

“Start to look at your health as you would look at car or home repairs,” said Dr. Chapman. “You will always keep up and look after the material things around you so why not your own body?”

20s and 30s
The bottom line is you can never start living healthy too early. Dr. Chapman encourages men in their 20s and 30s to get a baseline physical exam and comprehensive lab tests to catch any hidden health problems that might otherwise cause severe, long-term issues. Often abnormalities show up in your 20s and 30s that might not bother you now, but could become deadly threats later in life. For example, if you are young and have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or signs of cardiovascular disease, this can be detected early in life. If untreated, this can result in severe problems.

“The first symptom of heart disease is death, fifty percent of the time,” said Dr. Chapman. “If you do have heart disease, you’re fortunate to experience or catch symptoms early.”

40s and 50s
Dr. Chapman advises the same recommendations as in your 20s and 30s plus a few additional preventive measures. Now is the time to start regular colon and prostate cancer screenings, and Dr. Chapman recommends annual prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests after the age of 40. Colon cancer is one of the deadliest cancers yet it is very preventable. You should get a colonoscopy about every five years beginning between the ages of 40 and 45.

A large part of physical exams, especially stress tests, is detecting any early signs of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Chapman lists his top ten risk factors to check for cardiovascular disease:

  1. Blood pressure
  2. Cholesterol levels
  3. Signs of diabetes
  4. Use of tobacco
  5. Family history
  6. Current weight
  7. Exercise routine
  8. C-reactive protein levels (CRP)
  9. Homocysteine levels
  10. Vitamin D deficiency

60s and over
Keep you same scheduled annual physical exam, but make sure to add a bone density screening. This assesses the calcium content in your bones, which is extremely important in the aging process.

For men—and women—of all ages, it’s important to know your numbers, especially your blood pressure and cholesterol. Dr. Chapman stresses that keeping the following numbers under control are essential for your health:

  1. Total cholesterol – Pay more attention to your LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol) numbers. LDL: <130 (20s and 30s), <100 (40+), <70 if you have heart disease or diabetes; HDL: >45.
  2. Blood pressure – Men need to keep their blood pressure number generally around 120/70.

Give your dad the best Father’s Day gift he can receive: some encouragement or an appointment to see a physician for an annual physical exam. Happy Father’s Day!

For more information on Cooper Clinic exams or services, click here or call 972.560.2667.

For more information on Cooper Clinic Platinum, click here or call 972.560.5490.