Father's Day 2019: Watch Your Health | News | Loyola Medicine
Friday, June 14, 2019

This Father's Day, Make Sure Dad is Watching His Health

father and his 2 children

MAYWOOD, IL – With Father's Day coming up, now is a good time for dads to take stock of their health and make sure they're current on screening tests for leading diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

"The earlier we diagnose conditions, the more successfully we can treat them," said Loyola Medicine primary care physician Michael Gill, MD, PhD.

Dr. Gill recommends men undergo the following screening tests, based on guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and other expert bodies:

Body Mass Index. This is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. A BMI under 18.5 is underweight. Normal is 18.5 to 24.9. Overweight is 25 to 29.9 and obese is over 30. BMI should be checked yearly.

Colorectal cancer. Men should be screened beginning at age 50. The gold standard is a colonoscopy. Other screening exams include a yearly fecal occult blood test (which can find blood in the stool) or, every five years, a fecal blood test combined with an exam called a sigmoidoscopy, which examines the lower part of the colon.

Diabetes. Men with risk factors such as a family history of diabetes, being overweight, or experiencing diabetic symptoms should be screened with a fasting blood test that measures the amount of blood sugar.

Hearing. If a patient or his spouse reports a hearing problem, or if the patient works in a job with excessive noise, Dr. Gill will order a hearing test.

High blood pressure. Every man over age 18 should have his blood pressure checked at least once a year.

Cholesterol. Men ages 20 to 35 who have cardiovascular disease risk factors such as diabetes should be screened. After age 35, men should be screened once every five years if normal, or more often if levels are borderline.

Prostate cancer. Beginning at age 55, men should discuss with their physicians the pros and cons of the PSA prostate cancer screening test and jointly decide whether the test is appropriate for them.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm. This is a bulge in the large blood vessel that supplies the abdomen and lower body. If it ruptures, it will cause severe bleeding that often is fatal. Men aged 65 to 75 who have ever smoked should be screened with an ultrasound.

Other conditions. Dr. Gill also screens men for depression, smoking and alcohol abuse and talks to men about controlling their weight, getting enough physical activity and avoiding risky sexual behavior.

"Do your best to stay healthy," Dr. Gill advises fathers. "It's a big part of being a good dad."

Loyola's primary care physicians provide patients with custom care for conditions ranging from common ailments to chronic diseases.

Dr. Gill, who is trained in internal medicine and pediatrics, sees patients of all ages at the Loyola Center for Health at Park Ridge.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.