Dr. Philip Ham works at West Florida Hospital, his specialty is family practice. Dr. Ham is a doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.). A D.O. has the same medical background as an M.D., the main difference being that a D.O. focuses on preventative care and treats the whole body rather than specific symptoms or illnesses.
IN: In your experience, do you feel that men avoid the doctor more than
women? If so, why do you think men avoid the doctor?
HAM: Regularly men tell me they are here to see me because their wife made them come. Or, I hear from women regularly that their husband refuses to go to the doctor. When asked, some men explain it’s because they are too busy or they can’t afford to take a day off from work. Others try and find the answers to their medical problem online. I believe another problem is that most men don’t like to be nagged and they know doctors are notorious for telling their patients to stop smoking, lose weight, start exercising and avoid red meat and any other food item that has a good flavor to it.
IN: What are the vital check-ups that every man needs to have throughout
HAM: An annual physical is recommended for men. At this time, the doctor verifies all prevention measures have been adequately taken to decrease risk of disease. Prevention of disease is key to establishing a long healthy life. It is very important to screen for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes so that we may prevent, or at least stabilize, these diseases before they have had time to cause damage. Once a man turns 50 years of age, it is recommended for him to be screened for colon cancer, which can be a deadly cancer if not caught in time. Once he turns 65 years of age, annual flu immunizations, glaucoma screening, and bone scans may be recommended. These are just a few examples.
IN: What is your wellness plan for the typical male?
HAM: My plan for the typical male is to minimize his disease risk factors. This is accomplished by regular cardiovascular exercise, a healthy diet, maintenance of a healthy weight, and immunizations. We also focus on the stabilization of any disease processes the patient may already have such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, hypothyroidism, coronary artery disease, etc.
IN: At what age should men start to pay closer attention to their health?
HAM: Men should always pay close attention to their health. However, it is especially important for men who are 45 years and older as their risk for cardiovascular disease starts increasing at this age.
IN: What would you say is the average man’s worst enemy?
HAM: I would have to say that the average man’s worst enemy is inadequate exercise. Regular exercise leads to improved cardiovascular conditioning, quality sleep, higher metabolism and more energy. It decreases the risk of musculoskeletal injuries such as back pain. It’s especially beneficial in giving people a sense of well-being. Motivation to exercise is typically the greatest hurdle.
DR. PHILIP HAM
WEST FLORIDA HOSPITAL
WHERE: 1190 E. Nine Mile Road
DETAILS: 857- 4040 or westfloridahospital.com