Father's Day warning for men: Stay on top of your health screenings as COVID-19 is more prevalent in men than women

Father's Day can serve as a reminder for men to take charge of their health, but now the pandemic is making that more important than ever.
Father's Day can serve as a reminder for men to take charge of their health, but now the coronavirus pandemic is making that more important than ever.

A men's health specialist at UCLA shared why -- especially now -- it's crucial men make staying healthy a priority.

Marvin Harris, 51, of Los Angeles was never one to go to the doctor.

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"I hate to say it but I'm your typical man, which is my arm pretty much had to be hanging from a thread before I would think maybe I should go get that looked at," he said.

There were concerns about his testosterone levels, which led him to the Men's Clinic at UCLA.

"It's not just women who have hormones that affect emotions and physical well-being overall," Harris said.

UCLA Urologist Dr. Jesse Mills said, "When a man leaves his pediatrician, that's often the last time that he's going to see a doctor until he's about 50."

Research reveals people with comorbidities such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity are more likely to suffer the most with COVID-19. And these conditions are prevalent among men.

"There is a lot of emerging evidence that men are more predisposed to COVID than women," Mills said.

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As soon as the first COVID-19 case was identified here in the United States, the quest for a treatment began.

He said preliminary research suggests hormones may also increase a man's risk for the novel coronavirus.

"There are some really, complex molecular pathways that, especially on the lung, men express these certain proteins in higher concentrations than women," Mills said.

Because of the lockdown, many people are going through economic and emotional struggles, but Dr. Mills says waiting makes many conditions worse. Now is the time to act.

"Exercise more, eat better, learn to take care of yourself and be a part of your own prevention," Mills said, "When a man hits 50 to 55, he should get his prostate checked, which is usually done by his primary physician or a urologist like me, and he should get a colonoscopy."

Harris said, "As soon as everything opened up, I was right back into rescheduling any appointments I had because I actually had to go do a colonoscopy that got canceled."

Marvin's back on track and on this Father's Day, he's reminding all men to put their health first.

"It's our health. We're responsible for it, nobody else is. The wife, the girlfriend, the kids, the family can only ride you so much. You've got to take your responsibility for yourself," he said.

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The Mayo Clinic says patients who received the treatments generally had good results.

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