Taking care of your health is important for you and your family. Read on for information about common health concerns that you should stay on top of as you age.
Surviving a Mid-Life Crisis
By Lauren Griffin, M.A., licensed mental health counselor
Ted J. is a successful corporate executive with good health, hobbies and loved ones that he values. In the last year, he says, “I found myself acting in ways that didn’t make sense. Suddenly it hit me: I was having a mid-life crisis.”
A mid-life crisis is an emotional response to internal or external life stressors. Stereotypical mid-life crisis behaviors include buying sporty cars and status toys, seeking the attention of younger women, changing personal style and abrupt career changes. However, some men internalize their conflict, resulting in increased anxiety and depression.
Ted’s physician performed blood tests for low testosterone, which would indicate andropause, a decline in testosterone that brings symptoms of decreased libido, reduced muscle strength, weight gain, irritability, lethargy and mood disturbance. Ted’s blood work was normal, so he sought the assistance of a counselor.
To survive a mid-life crisis, acknowledge this change in yourself and seek support from a physician, counselor, trusted friend or family members. This support can help you examine your values, esteem and unresolved personal conflicts. Avoid self-medication with alcohol and drugs, and stay open to rebuilding relationships.
A year later, Ted says, “It lasted longer than I thought, but by focusing on what I really wanted in life, I was able to pull myself out of it and even grow as a person.”
When You’re at Risk for Esophageal Cancer
By Lyndsay Fogarty
Many individuals deal with acid reflux on a daily basis. What they don’t realize is this common condition, which is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), could lead to esophageal cancer if left untreated.
In 2009, doctors found that Pamela Sain’s father, John “Jack” Woolridge, suffered from silent reflux. The gastric acid in his body was traveling up through his esophagus but he wasn’t feeling it. After an endoscopy, he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a type of esphageal cancer and had to have a complete esophagectomy. He succumbed to the disease eight months later.
“As soon as he passed, it was relevant to me,” Sain says. “Most patients back then didn’t make it, and it was such a struggle for the families. My mission was awareness and hopefully raising enough funds to make a difference with this disease.”
For nine years, Sain hosted dine-around events at Pointe Orlando then ICON Park to raise funds and share information about esophageal cancer. She wanted to use the funds to bring something that would make a discernible difference for the disease to Orlando. Five years later and those efforts resulted in a NinePoint imaging system for the Center for Interventional Endoscopy at AdventHealth.
Sain, who is continuing her fundraising efforts digitally this year, says the machine is a game-changer for esophageal cancer. It allows doctors to see inside the esophagus and some of its outer layers to detect the changes in the esophageal lining that leads to cancer.
While esophageal cancer is a rare cancer that isn’t often spoken about, it’s one of the fastest growing cancers. So it’s important to see your primary care physician and a gastrointestinal specialist if you’re dealing with acid reflux or GERD. For more information visit www.StopTheReflux.com.
Health Screenings for All Ages
By Virgil Dawson, M.D., UCF Health
Most of us put off going to the doctor until something is wrong. However, there are some simple screenings that can ward off, or at least detect early, health conditions that can have a big impact on your life. Use this list below to see if you’re overdue for a visit to your primary care physician for any health screenings.
• Colon cancer screening (50-75 years old)
• Prostate cancer screening (discuss with your doctor starting at age 45-50 depending on risk factors)
• Lung cancer screening (55-80 years old if you have a history of smoking)
• Hep C screening (if born 1945-1965)
• HIV screening (15-65 years old)
• Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm screening (65-75 years old if you have a history of smoking)
If you’re unsure if you’re up to date on the recommended screenings, check with your doctor. Preventative screening helps prevent illnesses before they cause you symptoms or problems, so the time to get checked out is before you notice something is off.
Some screenings are done regularly, while others may just be a one-time test. Your doctor will determine your need for screenings based off known risk factors for certain diseases.
Courtesy of The American Lung Association
When it comes to men’s health, there are plenty of diseases on your radar for prevention and early detection. But are you aware of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?
First of all, what is COPD? It is an obstructive lung disease that, over time, makes it hard to breathe. The disease involves inflammation and thickening of the airways and the destruction of the tissue of the lung where oxygen is exchanged.
What many patients, both men and women, may not realize is that COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States, and there is no cure for COPD at this time. More than 11 million people are known to have the illness, and many more could have it without knowing. While women are outpacing the amount of diagnoses and deaths from COPD, this disease is one for men to be aware of and take action where possible for prevention.
Causes for COPD include smoking (about 85 to 90 percent of COPD diagnoses are related to smoking), air pollution and particulate matter, and for a small number of people, a genetic Alpha-1 deficiency.
The good news is that the American Lung Association provides a wealth of information including symptoms, educational resources and tools for those concerned or diagnosed with COPD.