By Dixon Bledsoe
With Father’s Day approaching it is a good time
to reflect on men – fathers, husbands, uncles, friends and brothers. They work hard, taking
care of kids, taking care of home, taking care of cars and taking care of business.
But what about themselves? Do they do a good job taking care of themselves?
According to WebMD, the six top health risks to men as they get older are led by cardiovascular disease, also called atherosclerosis. “Atherosclerosis means hardening of the arteries, but it could just as easily be Latin for ‘man’s worst enemy.’”
Lung cancer is the second leading health risk to men as they age, followed by prostate cancer, depression and suicide, diabetes and erectile dysfunction.
The Silverton Hospital network, covering Silverton, Woodburn, and Mt. Angel, includes five physicians who have probably seen it all when it comes to men’s healthcare.
David Forsythe – an orthopedic surgeon in the Silverton Specialist Center and also sees patients at the Tukwila Specialists Center in Woodburn – has served as a Naval commander, is a former Division 1 track and field athlete now active in biking and hiking, and is father of three boys.
“Baby boomers are not going quietly into their senior years,” Forsythe said about today’s aging male. “Many want to continue participating in exercise, recreational sports and other vigorous activities. Because of this, the need for total joint replacement in knees and hips is increasing dramatically.”
Michael Lemmers is also with Silverton Specialist Center and has an office at Tukwila’s Specialists Center in Woodburn. He is a musician, former member of the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra, is a nationally renowned urologist (and former director of OHSU’s urologic training program), and has a reputation for innovation and excellence in healthcare, according to Silverton Hospital.
Lemmer was one of the first physicians to introduce a device that acts like a pacemaker for the bladder, InterStim Therapy.
“Men don’t come in soon enough,” Lemmers said about prostate cancer. “I am a strong advocate for men getting an annual PSA test if they are 50 or older. Symptoms are not present in the early stages of the disease. When the cancer is found early and isolated within the prostate, the prognosis is excellent. Once the cancer has spread there is still no effective cure.”
Also an expert in erectile dysfunction, Lemmer said that “erectile dysfunction has now been linked to heart disease.” His practice can help in the diagnosis and treatment of ED.
Another expert in men’s health is Dr. Frank Lord who also serves as director of WellspringHeart/Wellspring Center for Extraordinary Living in Woodburn. Lord is a long-time Silverton physician and served as Silverton Hospital’s Emergency Department medical director.
According to Silverton Hospital, Lord “is a champion of Silverton Hospital Network’s WellspringHeart program.”
“Heart disease continues to be the number one killer of men,” Lord said. “WellspringHeart is a revolutionary program that enlists lifestyle changes – diet, exercise, stress reduction and group support – to not only halt, but reverse heart disease.”
The local physician is an artist, nursery pro and avid body surfer.
If a man is going to talk about including recreation, sports and exercising into his golden years, he might consult with Daniel Schweigert. This Sports Medicine and Integrative Medicine physician at Wellspring Integrative Medicine is an adventure seeker. He consults for Willamette University’s athletic program and is team physician for Woodburn High School’s football team. He was also the team physician for the former world champion San Antonio Spurs of the NBA.
Schweigert said he “practices a well-care philosophy – integrating the physicial, mental, social, emotional and spiritual apects of each individual in my care.”
“To Sleep, Perchance to Dream – Ah, there’s the rub…” Shakespeare shared his take on sleeping, at least according to Hamlet. But Dr. Henry Nino, a neurologist as well as medical director of Silverton Hospital Sleep Lab, is a few light years ahead of The Bard.
The Silverton Specialists Center neurologist is a runner, skier and foreign travel enthusiast. When it comes to food, he loves all things ethnic. He sees patients at the Silverton and Tukwila specialists centers, specializing in a good night’s sleep.
“The most common sleep disorder is Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA. Symptoms of OSA may include snoring, halted breathing during sleep, nighttime choking or gasping spells, excessive daytime sleepiness, feeling tired upon waking, morning headaches, heartburn or having a sour taste in the mouth at night and sweating and chest pain while sleeping. I am on a mission to help those who suffer from sleep disorders sleep like a baby again.”
“Men are much more likely to suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea than women,” Nino said. “This is so, not only because of anatomy, but also because of testosterone. It is a double whammy as obstructive sleep apnea may worsen high blood pressure, heart disease, risk for stroke, diabetes mellitus, hormone imbalances, etc. Not only men, but everyone can improve daytime functioning and learning by maximizing sleep quality:
“Do not short change time allotted to sleep. Everyone is different in their body’s requirement; even nine or 10 hours a night can be normal.
“Keep regular wake times seven days a week; this implies regular bedtimes as well. Avoid caffeine or alcohol at night. After going to bed each night, do not watch TV, read, eat, or WORRY. Expose yourself to bright light (open window) upon awakening in the morning and keep lights dim in the evening.”
The local as well as national experts agree – illness prevention is the goal. The strategy? Keep your blood pressure under control. Lower your cholesterol. Watch your diet. Walk or do some form of exercise daily. Stop smoking. Breath deeply. Reduce stress. Most important? Talk to your doctor, early on.
The old phrase “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” has stuck around this long because it is still true.