Too Proud for Prevention: Why Men Need to Take Charge of Their Health
May 30, 2019 06:50PM
● By Sheila Julson
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year. Stubborn social stigmas cause men to be reluctant to talk about certain physical symptoms. That, combined with a fear of diagnosis and being uncomfortable with exams, leads men to skip recommended screenings or even see a doctor when they’re having pain or symptoms. Natural Awakenings spoke with three healthcare providers to get their expertise on why men need to take charge of their health, and how they inspire them to do so.
Dr. John Roland, a functional medicine doctor and owner of Evolution Medicine Dallas, observes that men have a hard time relating to health concerns and coming in to address them. He’s developed what he refers to as “functional medicine lite”, in which he just addresses a few issues at a time to get patients headed in the right direction. He’s found that his intravenous (IV) vitamin therapy has been a good way to open dialogue about men’s health issues.
In conjunction with IV vitamin therapy, he gets patients’ medical histories and list of current medications. “That gives me some hints about their underlying medical issues. For instance, if somebody has peptic ulcer disease, I know that they aren’t as likely to process B12, so I put that in their IV and tell them I suspect that, based on the information they’ve given me, they’re vitamin deficient,” he explains. “If they get a response—and 40 percent of general public needs more B12, so they’ll likely get a response—I’ll follow up with them and often hear they had more energy and less muscle tenderness. I tell them about B12, but that’s just the first layer. I’ll suggest they come back to talk about other issues.”
Roland doesn’t offer hormone therapy, but he will discuss testosterone with male patients over age 50 due to the endocrine disruption that occurs with exposure to insecticides, pesticides and stressful lifestyles. “They’ll often reply, ‘My sex life is fine,’ but I tell them that’s not the whole story. Testosterone also helps with cholesterol levels, muscle mass, bone mass and mental functioning. So, I’ll work that into the conversation. My goal is overall health. What man doesn’t want more physical and mental vitality?”
Roland has found a slow, educational approach to be effective in having better discussions about health with men. “Some guys are fine with their daily lives of going to work, coming home, having a beer at night and getting to sleep, but there are other things going on that you need to pay attention to.”
Evolution Medicine Dallas
860 E. Ralph Hall Pkwy., Ste. 7, Rockwall
Dr. Matthew Gutierrez of Disc Decompression Centers of DFW, says approximately 85 percent of men over the age of 35 likely have a herniated disc, but often wait until the pain gets bad enough that it progresses beyond the back into the hips and legs. “They ignore it and just try to get through the day, and wait until the pain gets so bad they have difficulty working or even walking without pain. At that point, we can still help them, but it takes a little more work and effort than if they had come in when the pain had started to develop” he says. “Chronic stress over time damages the joints—sitting down in the same position for long periods of time, and physical things like bending, lifting or sports. But much of this damage can be preventable if you know how to maintain yourself.”
The intervertebral disc is the region between each vertebra that provides support and cushioning to prevent rubbing of vertebrae, Gutierrez explains. The intervertebral discs contain a gel-like material called a nucleus pulposus (similar to the oil present in the shock absorbers of vehicles). It is responsible for reducing friction between the vertebrae and provides lubrication to aid in spinal movement. The rupture of the coverings through the outer layer of the disc surrounding this gel-like substance results in the herniation of a disc.
With spinal decompression therapy, the patient lies on a special table that stretches and opens the spine to allow fluids and nutrients into the disc, starting a rejuvenation process. “Spinal decompression also helps to restore proper mobility to the affected spinal joints, allowing them to function naturally. Once proper joint health is restored, there are appropriate maintenance guidelines to follow, not only to prevent pain, but to keep the health of the joints” he says, adding that it’s also non-invasive and more cost effective than pharmaceuticals or surgery; cost and surgery being two issues that often discourage men from seeking treatment for health issues.
In efforts to emphasize the importance of spinal health to men, the doctors at Disc Decompression Centers of DFW may also use visual data such as X-rays or MRI images to evaluate the spine in its entirety. They also do MRI reviews and routinely give second opinions about previously diagnosed herniated discs or bulging discs.
Disc Decompression Centers of DFW
6211 W. Northwest Hwy., Ste. C159, Dallas
1681 Justin Rd., Ste. 100, Flower Mound
105 N. Goliad St., Rockwall
Since purchasing Dallas Designer Smiles in May, Dr. Jeff Davies is dedicated to keeping the biological dentistry services such as toxin-free fillings and safe amalgam removal that founding dentist Dr. Daniel Strader used. Davies will also incorporate biomimetic density, which he learned while studying at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at University of Southern California, and practiced for three years in Utah. Biomimetic dentistry is a minimally invasive, tooth-conserving style he describes as “doing more with less,” maintaining as much of the natural tooth structure as possible when treating fractured or decayed teeth—an approach that can put people at ease if they’re fearful of going to the dentist.
Davies observes that men are caring more about esthetic dentistry than in the past. “Men are wanting to have a younger-looking smile. They want to know what options they have for their treatment,” Davies says. He takes time to explain what’s happening on a level that makes sense for them and how it can make a difference, educating them on what’s possible. “It’s not just a one-size-fits-all approach, and there’s not just one way to fix a tooth or a smile. This can all be done to restore lost physical properties of aged or worn teeth with materials that are safe to the body. Personalizing their care makes them feel comfortable with what they’re getting and why. They have options, so it’s more of a guided team approach between them and me.”
Whether it comes to being proactive in maintaining teeth and gums or fixing a problem tooth, Davies avoids scare tactics and doesn’t try to force any patient to do anything. “But I want them to be as knowledgeable as possible without having it pushed on them, and by doing that, we see results.”
Dallas Designer Smiles
8222 Douglas Ave., Ste. 810, Dallas