By Johnny Jackson
Willie Hopkins recalls having health issues that could have only worsened, had he ignored them.
"I was putting it off," Hopkins said. "I felt like, 'well, I'll be OK.' But it's very important to get checked. It's very important that we take care of ourselves and live a well-balanced lifestyle."
Hopkins is helping organize a Men's Health Forum that wil highlight male health issues that many men know little about. He is the president of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Stockbridge-Jonesboro Alumni Chapter, which is sponsoring the forum.
The forum is set to take place, from 10 a.m. - noon, on June 14 - the eve of Father's Day, and in the midst of Men's Health Month. The forum is free and open to the public and will be held at Red Oak Elementary School, located at 175 Monarch Village Way in Stockbridge.
"We're hoping that men will become more aware of health issues in our community," Hopkins said. "It's important that men take care of themselves. Often times, we don't go to the doctor like we're supposed to."
The forum will involve a presentation on men's health issues, as well as a discussion and question-and-answer session by a panel of experts, including a local primary care physician, a male diabetic patient, and local urologist, Darrell Carmen.
"The purpose of the Men's Health Forum is to provide general information to men regarding these issues," Carmen said. "It's trying to highlight the need for men to take control of their health care."
Carmen, who has high blood pressure himself, said many men could prevent some medical conditions and illnesses simply by learning more about health issues and having physicals on a regular basis.
"Clearly, women are more involved in health care than men," he said. "They are the health educator, or the gate keepers."
He encourages men to do research on health issues by going online or attending local health fairs that are typically available throughout the year.
Men's Health Week is June 9-15, and some area health-care providers may have available information that highlights key medical concerns for men.
"The main health issues for men are going to be cardiovascular diseases, like high blood pressure and diabetes," Carmen said. "The second part of this would be cancers, and specifically prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men. Cardiovascular disease - heart disease - is the most common killer in this country. So, there are obvious ramifications if these things go unchecked.
"Men do a very good job of changing the oil in their car and doing maintenance on it, but they do a horrible job of maintaining their own health," he said. "What we are trying to do is, at least, enlighten men of the importance of preventive health care."
On the net:
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