Today is June 15, 2021

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Men’s Health Week

Recommended men’s health screenings

Men need to be proactive in regard to monitoring their overall health. This includes seeing their doctors for regular wellness visits and keeping up with recommended screenings to catch and/or prevent illnesses. While men and women can experience the same conditions, health experts recommend specific tests and screenings for men in various age groups.

Johns Hopkins Medicine advises that men are at risk for certain conditions, including several types of cancer, such as prostate, colon and lung cancers. However, Harvard Medical School states men are less likely than women to get routine physical exams and screenings. An American Academy of Family Physicians survey found that 55 percent of men had not seen their doctors for a physical exam in the previous year, even though 40 percent had a least one chronic condition.

While many screenings are recommended starting at age 40 or 50, men should discuss family histories and risk factors to determine if testing should begin earlier. The following are important health screenings to consider.

· Prostate-specific antigen test: A PSA is a blood test that measures how much prostate-specific antigen is in the blood. Measuring PSA has been a standard for prostate cancer screening for 30 years. General guidelines indicate PSA screening begin at age 55. However, having at least one first-degree relative with prostate cancer could necessitate earlier testing.

· Colorectal cancer screening: Colorectal cancer screening generally occurs between ages 50 and 75. Tests include fecal occult blood tests, stool DNA tests, colonoscopy, and contrast barium enemas. Doctors will determine which tests are applicable and how often to conduct them.

· Diabetes: Men who have a BMI over 25 are overweight and should consider a diabetes screening. In addition, blood pressure above 130/80 mm Hg or other diabetes risk factors could require a blood test to check for elevated glucose levels.

· Abdominal aortic aneurysm: Guidelines recommend a one-time screening for men who have smoked between the ages of 65 and 75.

· Hepatitis B and C: Men are at increased risk for infection if they have had unprotected sex with multiple partners, received blood transfusions or transplanted organs before June 1992, are healthcare workers who have been stuck by needles, or travel to regions with high rates of the hepatitis B virus.

· Lung cancer screening: Men should undergo a lung cancer screening through low-dose computed tomography if they are over age 55, have a 30-pack-per-year smoking history and currently smoke or quit within the past 15 years.

· Testicular cancer screening: Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers among young men, says Johns Hopkins Medicine. Early screening can include self-checks. Routinely checking the testicles for any lumps or unusual features while showering can help detect testicular cancer. Doctors may order a painless ultrasound if something is discovered.

Health screenings are an important component of men’s health care. Now is the time to have a discussion with the doctor about which screenings are necessary.

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National Electricity Day

Safety first with DIY electrical work

Home improvement projects can help homeowners transform their homes. Such projects are costly, but many homeowners save money by doing some, if not all, of the work themselves.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting electrical safety, recommends that homeowners leave electrical work to the professionals. Licensed electricians are well-trained, whereas homeowners may not be skilled enough to avoid accidents or injuries, which can prove fatal when working with electricity.

Homeowners who take the do-it-yourself route with electrical work should consider these safety tips, courtesy of the ESFI, before beginning a home electrical project.

· Learn your home electrical system. Home electrical systems may include power lines, electric meters, service panels, subpanels, wiring, and more. These systems are complex, and homeowners who intend to do some DIY electrical work should familiarize themselves with their home electrical systems prior to beginning any work. The ESFI notes that knowledge of their home electrical systems can help homeowners more safely navigate them and make maintenance easier.

· Honestly assess your skills. An honest assessment of skills is absolutely necessary prior to working on an electrical system. According to the National Safety Council, injuries relating to electrical incidents typically fall into one of four categories: electrical shock, electrocution, falls, and burns. Each of these injuries is significant. For example, electric shock, which occurs when electrical current passes over or through a person’s body, involves burns, abnormal heart rhythm and unconsciousness. Given the potential for serious injury, the ESFI urges homeowners to make an honest assessment of their skills before they begin working on their home’s electrical systems. Little or no experience working with electrical systems should be considered a significant hurdle to any DIY project.

· Turn the power off. It’s essential that the power to the circuit that will be worked on be turned off prior to starting any work. This can be accomplished by switching off the circuit breaker in the main service panel. Similarly, when working on appliances or lamps, make sure the products are unplugged prior to working on them.

· Do not touch plumbing or gas pipes when doing electrical work. The experts at the Indiana Electric Cooperative note that the risk for electrocution is significant when water comes in contact with electricity. It’s imperative that homeowners do not touch plumbing and gas pipes when performing a DIY electrical project. Professionals know how to work around such pipes while minimizing their risk for electric shock or worse, and homeowners must familiarize themselves with the techniques professionals rely on to stay safe if they intend to begin DIY electrical projects.

Homeowners are best served by leaving electrical work to the professionals. However, those who insist on doing such work themselves should do their homework and get to know their systems and safety protocols prior to beginning a project.