Men. I have to be honest-I am a total girl’s girl, grew up with sisters and never got into the male pursuits of sports, cars and the rest. I remember feeling intimidated on my surgery rotation seeing all the men that surrounded me and not really sure of how to act or what to say to try to fit in. I did not understand them and I am sure they did not understand me.
Fast forward a few years and marriage, a son and nephews offered a glimpse into the world of men and men’s health. I opened my practice- initially for women and children, but soon found requests to see someone’s brother or father or uncle. ” Men” became less elusive and more interesting, but more importantly- a little predictable. As an integrative physician, I have found that men often fall into distinct patterns- patterns that allow us to guess at their health problems and their inner psyche. Meet the men that I see most often and now find interesting, dynamic and challenging.
We all know this one- the Dad that powers through and tackles the world. Meetings, deadlines and business travel are the norms for this Dad. If this is your dad, look out for the following health issues.
Executive dads, with their Type A personalities, are at greatest risk for adrenal fatigue, an integrative concept describing the body’s constant pumping of adrenaline, which eventually burns out. Adrenal fatigue, over a long period of time, can lead to digestive issues and then inflammation. Many of the chronic diseases of today including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and dementia, are diseases of inflammation. Chronic stress, for the executive dad, turns on genes that then express themselves five, ten or even fifteen years later. Hormone imbalances, including low testosterone, thyroid abnormalities and insulin resistance can often follow. High blood pressure can be another issue for the Executive Dad.
Support your Executive Dad this Father’s Day by first making sure he takes time to get a physical and has a regimen that includes managing the stress that leads to adrenal fatigue. Consistent acupuncture, massage, or yoga are great tools for the executive dad. Supplements that may help the Executive Dad include Coq10 (300 mg), omega 3 oil (2-3 grams per day) and a daily am b complex. This combination protects the heart, helps the adrenals, and fights inflammation.
The Nurturer is another familiar dad. This is the Dad that is always there-and always focused on the family. The Nurturer also neglects their health, not for business, but to meet the needs of children or other family members. These dads often battle weight and digestive disorders like reflux, IBS and colitis. Many of these dads hold weight around their abdomens, leading to insulin resistance, high cholesterol or diabetes.
The best gift for the nurturing dad is time- time to exercise, manage insulin resistance and practice consistent self care. These dads need support in maybe hitting the gym a few nights before coming home or leaving the house a bit early for an exercise or self care routine. The nurturer dad can benefit from digestive help- probiotics and digestive enzymes taken with meals can improve digestive health. My standard recommendation for probiotics is 20 billion cfu per day.
The Dreamer/The Drifter
Finally, some dads are dreamers or drifters- always seeking the next best thing and not sure of what they are meant to do. These dads have a completely different set of medical issues- ADD/ADHD, anxiety and depression are common issues for the Dreamer dad. These dads need structure, support, and direction- but more importantly, need to feel worthy. The best gift for these dads may be helping them to a new hobby or pursuit to enhance their self esteem. Diets high in protein and amino acids may help the issues with inattention and anxiety. These dads benefit from magnesium and b vitamins to help balance neurotransmitters and keep anxiety and depression at bay.
This Father’s Day, find your daddy and learn his health risks. Help your dad live healthy naturally for many years to come.