By Robin Clutters

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – June is Men’s Health Month, which is a good reminder for men to make sure they are getting the necessary checkups and screenings.

Dr. Scott Joy from Englewood Primary Care at Swedish Medical Center talked to us on CBSN Denver. He offered some advice for men who may have put off their doctor’s visits due to the pandemic.

“I think a lot of men wait until they have significant symptoms,” says Dr. Joy. “There’s a lot of things you cannot prevent, but there are a lot of things you can, and you want to fully take advantage of that.”

According to the CDC, more men die of heart disease than any other cause of death. Dr. Joy says men should avoid things like smoking, which put them more at risk for heart disease. He also encourages yearly blood pressure and cholesterol level checks.

“There’s been a change over the last couple years, with people thinking that cholesterol number is everything and we actually in primary care now do a calculator. We put in not only the cholesterol numbers but the patient’s age, their history of hypertension, and their history of diabetes,” says Dr. Joy. “If that risk percentage is in a borderline zone, we’ll do a coronary calcium score. It’s a special type of X-ray to see if they have calcium deposits, and then understand if they do need a medicine to lower their risk of heart disease.”

Cancer is the second-leading cause of death among American men. Dr. Joy stresses the importance of colon cancer screenings — which do not necessarily have to be a colonoscopy.

“We now have some kits that we can actually mail to patients, they can return at their convenience and it has really good sensitivity picking up about 92% of cancers. If that test is positive, then we do a colonoscopy. But for patients that have an average or low risk for colon cancer, it’s an excellent first test.”

Compared to women, men have a higher risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. Dr. Joy says the best way to manage your risk of diabetes is through diet and exercise.

“A lot of people think they need to lose 20 or 30 pounds. With the data we’ve seen, even a 5 to 10 pound weight loss in a given year can greatly reduce your risk of developing diabetes.”

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Robin Clutters