BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - At the Men's Health Center in Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, the medical director is encouraging fathers and sons to have a talk about their family medical history.
"Family history is an incredible piece of information because you cannot run from your genetics," said Internal Medical Specialist Dr. Curtis Chastain.
Chastain explains that family history- diseases that affect your parents, grandparents, and siblings- can act like a road map for doctors and lead them to conditions that you may be more at risk for.
June marks Men's Health Month which Chastain says is a perfect time for men of all ages to take a closer look at their health. According to the CDC, men are less likely to keep up with preventative screenings and annual checkups than women.
"Psychologically, in many men's minds they think it's a sign of weakness to go in and get taken care of if they don't feel anything," said Chastain.
In recent years, the doctor says diabetes has become a big factor in men's health. He explains that at least a third of men who have diabetes do not know it.
"Your classic individual who has diabetes would be an overweight male with a big stomach, relatively skinny legs, who has a poor diet, very little in the way of exercise, who probably works 8 to 10 hours a day," said Chastain.
Diabetes can be diagnosed with a simple blood test and can be managed with medicine and a lifestyle change.
The two biggest factors affecting men's health are cardiovascular disease and cancers. Both conditions can be helped or even prevented with early detection.
"Many of the diseases that can ultimately lead to early death can be picked up decades before," said Chastain. "You have a guy who is looking at dying from a disease in his mid-fifties from a disease that could have easily been diagnosed 20 years before in his thirties."
Chastain says it is never too early to get a baseline health exam with a primary care physician. From there, a doctor can help guide you to a healthier life.
More info on men's health can be found here.