Dr. Jedan Phillips, a family medicine doctor, lost his father at just 70 years old.

“Seventy years old is young,” Phillips said.

Over Father’s Day Weekend, he thought of him often and reflected on the importance of being proactive about health care.

Additionally, when it comes to mental health, Phillips explained that expression of depression and anxiety is not something that all people feel very comfortable with, especially in the African American community. He informs his patients that the best place to start with getting help is while showing up for a physical. Mental health screening tools can be filled out when patients visit their doctor’s office. The way he or she answers questions can give the medical provider an idea if it is something that needs follow up.  

Phillips made time to offer insight about putting men on a better health path.

Q: Is there anything that family can do to support men at home better to encourage them to take a more preventative approach to health care?

A: My male patients have family members or spouses that will come with them to the doctor. The other thing they may do is prepare their questions before they get to the doctor’s office, so they can read them off their phone. I think preparing for the visit is important because that gets your questions answered.

Q: How often should men see a doctor for health screenings?

A: At least once a year and then that might be more frequent based on the type of medical problems that you have. Unfortunately, what we saw during the pandemic was that a lot of African American men do not have a relationship with a primary care doctor. Some people relied on Facebook and YouTube, which did not give them the best information and the right directions as far as the choices that they needed to make.

 I think that, unfortunately, the other thing is a lot of men just don’t go to the doctor regularly. I think between the ages of 18 and 40, the data in the past has shown that men may go to the doctor maybe two or three times during that time, including ER visits. So, the purpose of your physical is that it allows you to identify issues before they become big problems so that you can formulate a plan on how to address it.

Q: Is there a recommended timeframe or duration of exercise? If so, how often should a person engage in it?

A: Usually what we recommend is about 20 to 30 minutes of exercise that brings a light sweat, four to five times a week. In addition to that, if you can include some strength developing activity, that also is helpful because developing your musculature can also make your metabolism more efficient. Muscle development makes your body more receptive to the natural insulin that it produces. Insulin is a substance that helps you break down sugar. With individuals that have adult-onset diabetes, they in many cases are overweight and the receptors for their insulin are not functioning as efficiently. So, they’re producing large amounts of sugar that’s not being broken down. Unfortunately, when the sugar is not broken down, that’s when it can cause diabetes.

Maintaining our fitness level and staying active as we get older avoids a lot of ailments that can occur, such as falling down.

Q: When men aren’t comfortable with their doctor, how may they find another one?

A: Your source would be your insurance provider guide. That is a list given by your insurance company that lets you know what doctors in your area take your insurance. The first thing to understand is that medicine is a business, so if you come to my business and you’re not getting great service, you have a choice. You don’t have to take it because not having a good relationship with your doctor, whether you feel you’re not heard, or they don’t teach you in a way that you understand, that is going to result in you having problems down the road. Make sure that the relationship that you have with your doctor is a good one and a sound one, because if it’s not, you have issues. Maybe you need to look for another doctor, that’s better. Some people ask friends.

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