Heart disease, cancer primary causes of death in county
Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare encourages men to take steps to improve their overall physical and mental wellness by scheduling routine health exams.
The Memphis-based healthcare system’s 2022 Community Needs Health Assessment has revealed heart disease and cancer as leading causes of death in both DeSoto County and Shelby County. Mental health is ranked as a top community health concern followed closely by obesity and diabetes.
“Maintaining normal cholesterol and blood pressure levels, along with a healthy weight, are some of the most important ways anyone can reduce their risk of heart attack, stroke and so many other medical problems,” said primary care physician Christopher D. Wright, MD, with Methodist Medical Group on Union Avenue in the Memphis Medical District. “Additional testing can sometimes include HIV, testosterone and thyroid, as well as screening for skin, colon and prostate cancers.”
Methodist Medical Group primary care practices also offer integrated behavioral health resources that include mental health screenings and licensed counselors.
While certain risk factors cannot be changed, such as getting older and genetics, many chronic health conditions are preventable with physical activity, a balanced diet and other lifestyle changes. Simple and routine screenings can detect issues early on, when treatment is most effective in adverting or managing long-term illnesses.
“Perhaps the most powerful benefit of annual wellness visits is the ability to identify an issue before serious problems arise,” Wright said. “During June, which is men’s health awareness month, I challenge those without a primary care physician to find an established provider and schedule a routine wellness visit.”
In general, guidelines for preventative screenings for men include:
- Starting at 18, blood pressure should be checked every two years.
- Starting at 18, men should have their cholesterol checked every five years.
- Your family history or age may require more frequent testing.
- The American Cancer Society recommends regular screening beginning at 45 years old.
- If you are at least 45 years of age, the American Diabetes Association recommends diabetes screening.
- If your body mass index is above 25, you should be screened earlier.
Men should talk with their primary care provider about appropriate screenings.