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It’s Men’s Health Week, and experts are building awareness of preventable health problems and encouraging early detection and treatment of disease among men. Photo credit: Mary R. VogtA fishing pole or a new tie may be traditional Father’s Day gifts, but experts say another important gift could be a conversation with the men in your life about taking control of their own health.Brandon Leonard, director of strategic initiatives with Men’s Health Network, says the time spent caring for and providing for their families can lead many men to neglect their own health care needs.“Men need to take responsibly for their own health so that they can be there for the birthdays and the graduations and the weddings and so that they can enjoy life with their family and with their friends as well,” he stresses.Leonard says prevention is the best medicine, and habits now will have a huge impact on what happens down the road.As part of Men’s Health Week, he’s encouraging men to get regular doctor check-ups and think about risk factors for things like heart disease, different types of cancers and diabetes.Leonard points out men of all ages need to focus on getting regular exercise and good nutrition.“Getting plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains and lean proteins,” he says. “And really making a conscious decision to cut back on things like junk food, cut back on the sweets, cut back on the fried foods because those are certainly going to have an impact on your health down the road.”Leonard says heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women.As they age, he adds, it’s important that men stay on top of their blood pressure and cholesterol and get regular screenings for certain types of cancer.“Continuing to look at things like prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and men are also dealing with urinary tract issues,” he says. “Enlarged prostate can become an issue at that point.”Across Indiana and the country, communities are celebrating Men’s Health Week with free screenings, health fairs and other educational events.News Service