Father's Day Celebration: Gift Him Healthy Moments

Father's Day Celebration: Gift Him Healthy Moments

Reliable, motivating, generous, and hardworking are adjectives we would use to describe our fathers, but being stubborn enough not to go to the doctor is another side of most dads. With Father’s Day around the corner, it is time to figure out how to keep your father healthy. Getting simple screenings for cardiovascular health, high blood pressure, and age-appropriate cancers can help doctors to arrange treatment for potentially fatal conditions that are very manageable if detected early enough.

 

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Why health check for dad?
Why health check for dad?

Men tend to be more reluctant to go for a doctor until the situation becomes unavoidable for a doctor visit. Fear of having a bad diagnosis or a bad outcome, personal belief that men are tough enough to handle anything including sickness or disease, and avoidance to disclose personal “sensitive” issues to others, like erectile dysfunction, may be the reasons why men are more reluctant to consult a doctor in general.  

Thus, it takes family support and effort to help the men in the family to consult a doctor and face the physical needs heads on. An occasion, like the Father’s Day gift, is a good chance to bring up health concern and health check discussion with fathers. To further ease the tension for a doctor visit, it would be nice if the partner or children could make the appointment and accompany him to the doctor.

Which health check-up my dad needs?
Which health check-up my dad needs?

Depending on the family medical history, age, personal risk factors, and other factors, the doctor may recommend additional health screenings. Below are some common screenings for men over 50 years old.

Cholesterol levels

Cholesterol levels are affected by family history, health conditions or lifestyle factors such as diet and physical activity. Cholesterol levels go up with age, and high cholesterol levels are associated with heart disease and stroke.

Blood Pressure

Hypertension is a chronic disease in which the pressure inside the arteries is persistently elevated. Blood pressure tends to increase as we age. If not controlled can lead to severe conditions such as stroke, coronary artery disease, heart failure and kidney disease. Regular blood pressure checks are important to catch the condition early.

Blood sugar

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a chronic condition caused by insulin resistance, resulting in raised blood sugar levels. The prevalence of DM increases with age. DM increases the risk of stroke, heart diseases, eye diseases, kidney disease and foot ulcers. It is a major cause of illness and death.

Colon cancer screening

Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers, and in Hong Kong, data suggest that up to 90% of colon cancers occur in those 50 years and above. Lifestyle factors and other conditions increase the risk of colon cancer. Faecal occult blood test, colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy are the mainstays of screening. There are newer screening modalities such as virtual colonoscopy and stool DNA test.

Prostate cancer screening

There are 2 tests used for prostate cancer screening:  digital rectal examination (DRE) and measurement of the prostatic specific antigen (PSA). The accuracy of DRE depends on the examiner, and the PSA test is affected by other prostate conditions other than cancer (such as prostatitis and benign prostatic hypertrophy). If you have a family history of prostate cancer, are of black ethnic origin, or are overweight or obese, a PSA test would be warranted. Please speak to your doctor regarding the benefits and harms associated with these tests

What else besides health screenings?
What else besides health screenings?

Health screening is important for health management. Apart from health screening, vaccination is also critical for diseases prevention. Adult also needs (regular) vaccination for better protection against preventable diseases, here are some vaccines that may be suitable for your father.   

Shingles Vaccine

Shingles (herpes zoster) is the reactivation of the latent varicella-zoster virus. If you have had chickenpox in the past, you are at risk of getting shingles. Older people with shingles are more likely to develop complications such as nerve pain.

Pneumococcal vaccine

Pneumococcus causes severe or even life-threatening invasive pneumococcal diseases such as infections of the brain and the lungs.  Those 65 or older are encouraged to receive this vaccine. However, you can receive it earlier if you have certain medical conditions (such as heart or kidney disease) which predispose you to infection and possible complications.

Seasonal influenza vaccine

Influenza can cause acute illness of the respiratory tract, and it may be complicated by bronchitis, chest infection or even death.  Annual vaccination against seasonal flu is recommended unless you have certain medical conditions or allergies which preclude you from having the vaccine.

Summary of health screening plan & vaccination recommendations
Summary of health screening plan & vaccination recommendations

Prevention is better than treatment. Potentially fatal conditions could be very manageable if detected early enough. With Father’s Day around the corner, let's take the opportunity to figure out how to keep your father healthy.

 
Health screeenings

Premier Health Check

Cardiac Screening

Colorectal cancer screening/ colonoscopy

(for over 50 years old)

Prostate cancer screening

(for over 50 years old)

Osteoporosis screening

(for over 50 years old)

 

 
Vaccination

Seasonal influenza vaccine

Shingles

Pneumococcal

 

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