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Fathers, please be proactive and conscious of your health

 Fathers, please be proactive and conscious of your health (Photo: iStock)

Last Sunday marked what is celebrated as Father’s Day. There are so many celebratory days in a typical year’s calendar that the day likely passed unnoticed by many. Whoever came up with Father’s Day wanted to honour fatherhood, linking it to paternal bonds within families and its influence on societal dynamics.

Biologically, fathers are naturally men. They need to be in good health for them to play an active role in fatherhood. But men are also known to be a bit nonchalant about their health. Sometimes fathers need prompting to stay healthy. However, the key is for them to be more proactive and health conscious at all times.

For starters, every father should constantly and, continuously keep their prevailing health under review. That means being acutely aware of any unusual symptoms and getting checked out whenever necessary. Similar to the opposite sex, several screening tests for chronic diseases also apply to men.

Screening for cardio-metabolic conditions is one example, usually advisable within certain age groups and in the presence of other risk factors. Other fathers may be eligible for screening for certain cancers, including male-specific prostate cancer.

If a father is carefree on health matters, and if they happen to be your father, then you must help them out. Find a way to influence their health consciousness. They need to stay physically active and eat healthier foods. Advise them to give up toxins, like smoking or excessive drinking. Encourage them to have any lingering symptoms checked out pronto. And if they are in the elderly category, ensure they aren’t lonely. Visit them ever so often, or keep them connected with their peers. That way, their longevity will be positively impacted.

Fathers must also be proactively mindful of the health status of their kin. If you are a father, make sure the health interests of your family are well catered for.

That means enabling ready access to quality healthcare for those you are responsible for. Invest in appropriate family health insurance and ensure your children get all the recommended vaccines. Veer your teens away from drugs and alcohol. And don’t shy away from talking to your adolescents about sexual matters, thereby helping avoid sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies.

When fathers are in optimal health, their contribution to the well-being of others is more impactful. Though belated, this column wishes all fathers a healthier life, so they can live long enough to celebrate many more Father’s Days.

Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynecologist and Fertility Specialist.

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