St. Joseph Hoag Health is teaming up with the Los Angeles Angels asking
men to “Step Up to the Plate” and get checked! This special
HealthCalling post features guest blogger, Angels catcher Chris Iannetta.
For most professional ballplayers, myself included, success means getting
a start in the minor leagues and working your way up. At each stage, it’s
about building on where you were before. It’s the same with your
health. Over time, your regular checkups build a history that helps your
doctor detect problems at the early stages, and develop effective prevention
and treatment. But to build that history, you need to get into the doctor’s office.
Here are a couple of pointers for men who haven’t seen their doctor
in the past year:
Know the opposition. Catchers and pitchers study up on every batter, and learn the best way
to beat them. Men need to do the same by learning about the health issues
we face, like heart disease and cancer, and the steps we can take to prevent
them. An exam gives you the chance to ask your doctor questions, and it
also gives doctors an opportunity to share their knowledge. That knowledge
that can make a big difference in your health when you act on it, so bear
down, and commit to get yourself checked.
Keeping stats helps you win. Baseball now is all about statistics. Every swing a batter takes and every
pitch a pitcher throws is recorded and analyzed. Those statistics are
used to track the player’s performance. Your doctor needs to see
you on a regular basis to track your body’s performance. Even when
you’re in your 20s and 30s you need an annual exam to track your
risk of things like heart disease, diabetes and stroke. And as we move
into our 40s and 50s and on, men need to start paying attention to the
risk of things like colorectal cancer and prostate cancer. Getting annual
exams builds a body of stats that the doctor uses to figure out where
you’re at, monitor how you’re doing, and be alerted to any changes.
Do it for your teammates. I work hard keeping myself healthy on and off the field, and I don’t
just do it for my job--I do it for my family and friends. If you feel
nervous about visiting the doctor, take a few minutes and talk to them,
ask them to explain any procedures which may make you nervous, and they
should be able to put you at ease. You and your loved ones are a team,
so do your part to keep your team together for a long time.
Listen to the coach. The Angels have great coaches, trainers and medical professionals who
work with us during the season. When I’m working on my swing, I
listen to the hitting coach. Every time I get a base hit, I get instructions
from the base coaches. If I get injured, I follow the advice the trainers
and team doctors give me. I listen to my doctors and coaches, because
they’re the experts and they’re working for my success. Think
of your doctor as your coach, and be coachable.
Be in it for the long haul. You want to be around for as many winning seasons as possible, so don’t
avoid a checkup just because you’re afraid of what the doctor might
say--you don’t want to get sick or die from something that could
have been prevented. There are really good success rates for treating
serious men’s health conditions, including colon and prostate cancers,
when they are detected early. So make the appointment, and make sure you’re
around for the postseason.
If you’re the kind of guy who puts off seeing the doctor, the Angels
and I encourage you to “step up to the plate,” and get the
health services, screenings, and treatments you need to enjoy a longer,
Photos courtesy of the Los Angeles Angels.