Kootenai | Kootenai Health | Issue 3, 2022

22 Ask the Expert Protect your health Tyler Clark, M.D., is a board-certified family medicine physician at Kootenai Clinic Family Medicine– Coeur d’Alene. For more resources, visit KH.org/family-medicine. • Colorectal. Discuss this with your provider annually, starting at age 45, if you are at average risk or if you notice blood in the stool or a persistent change in bowel habits. • Lung. If you smoke or quit within the past 15 years and have (or had) at least a 20-pack per year smoking history, discuss this annually with your provider, starting at age 50. • Skin. Report any unusual moles or changes in your skin to your doctor. A yearly full-body screening may be recommended for those with increased risk. • Heart disease. Speak to your doctor about risk factors for heart disease, which include a family history, high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes. Other considerations include testing for sexually transmitted infections if you have a new partner and staying current with vaccinations, including a yearly flu shot and a shingles vaccine. Dailyhabits forwellness You can make a big impact on your health and quality of life through lifestyle choices: • Get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. • Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. • Don’t smoke, and only consume alcohol in moderation (no more than two drinks per day). • Cultivate interests outside of work and spend time with friends and family to alleviate stress. Also, be honest with your doctor if you are struggling with anxiety, depression or thoughts of self-harm. Help is available. My colleague recently compared preventive care to auto maintenance: We still get oil changes even when our cars are running smoothly. We can understand the importance of staying ahead of avoidable problems for our cars; let’s extend that thinking to our health for the greatest running capability and longevity. Q What are some important screenings for men’s health? As a family doctor, the number one comment I hear from male patients when we discuss preventive testing is this: because they don’t have symptoms, they don’t need health checks. Many men approach health management as something strictly done on an as-needed basis. It is very rewarding to talk with men to uncover their values and preferences, discuss the benefits and risks of recommended tests and interventions—and come to a shared decision on a pathway forward. Regular appointments are a great time to discuss health screenings, lifestyle choices and mental health with your doctor. Here are a few specifics to consider: Preventive careand cancer screenings • Prostate. Starting at age 55, this exam is done annually for patients of average risk—or if you are experiencing pain or urinary problems. Tyler Clark, M.D. Kootenai Clinic Family Medicine