FORT POLK, La. –
June is Men’s Health Month and the Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital public affairs officer discussed the topic of men’s health with providers and health care professionals at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, Louisiana.
Lt. Col. James Kenisky is a doctor of pharmacology and the chief of pharmacy at BJACH. Kenisky discusses his personal and professional opinions on the subject.
Question: Why is important to talk about men’s health during Men’s Health Awareness Month and throughout the year??
Answer: For me it’s important for quality of life. Living a long and healthy life starts with proper diet, regular exercise and having a positive outlook.
Question: What are some things you do to promote men’s health in your daily life; at work and at home?
Answer: I drink a lot of water to stay hydrated, I avoid eating a lot of sugary foods, I spend as much time as possible with my family, I stay active and I eat a lot of fiber. At work, I try to move around and not sit at my desk all of the time.
Question: What advice would you give to other men about their health that can improve their quality of life?
Answer: Everyone thinks that if you perform 30 minutes to an hour of scheduled exercise for a certain number of days each week, is the way to go. While I agree that is important, I feel that it goes beyond that. I think it boils down to staying constantly active throughout the day. I also think the most important thing a person can do is to eat a lot more fiber. Fiber is that magical substance that helps you control your weight and prevents a host of diseases later in life.
Question: As a pharmacist what are some things men can do to improve their health?
Answer: The most important thing I would tell all beneficiaries, both male and female, is to be very aware of what medications you are taking and why. A lot of us take prescriptions and over the counter medications without truly understanding them, what they do and how they interact with each other. I would encourage beneficiaries to ask a pharmacist about your prescriptions and the over the counter medications you are taking.
Question: If a patient has a lot of prescription medications, what are some things they can do to ensure all of their medications are working as they should for their overall health?
Answer: Taking a lot of medications is a challenge. In my professional opinion, there are three main factors to consider to ensure that your medication is working optimally for you. These are consistency, timing, and how to take them. Let me elaborate on these three points.
Consistency is important because if you skip taking your medications and become non-compliant, then the medication will not work at its maximum efficacy.
Timing is important because if you do not take the medication at the right time, you can get too much or too little of the dose required. This will impact the severity of potential side effects you may encounter.
Lastly, it is important to know how to take your medication. For example, some medication you need to take with or without food. Many people do not realize food can determine how much medication is absorbed into the blood stream. Some medications absorb better with food and others do not. This can affect the dose that is delivered to the body. If all of these factors are taken into account then you can ensure that the medications are working for you.
Question: Is there anything you would like to add on the subject?
Answer: My final thoughts about men staying healthy is to have a healthy home. Spending time with family and loved ones as much as possible is so important. To me this is more important than anything else.
I also think it’s important to have a positive outlook on life and appreciate the small things. Hunt the good stuff so to speak. I know a lot of people had negative impressions of Fort Polk when they found out they were coming here. Soldiers who have done a rotation in the box at the Joint Readiness Training Center often have stories to tell about the isolated and austere conditions.
I admit prior to coming here, I had negative expectations. However, once I arrived I realized Fort Polk is a beautiful installation. I had to stop and consider where I was and focus on all of the positive things about Fort Polk. I focus on fresh clean air. Coming from South Korea clean air is a luxury and we all wore anti-pollution masks before COVID-19. Here at Fort Polk, we take clean air for granted. I focus on the housing and open space. In South Korea open spaces and great housing are huge challenges. I was so thankful for the on-post housing at Fort Polk because we have central cooling and heating and consistent water temperatures. In South Korea, if you lived off post, homes did not generally have central heating or cooling and this posed a challenge in the summer and winter.
At Fort Polk, we have all of these conveniences we did not have overseas. We are very fortunate to live in America. So when you start thinking in negative terms, I would ask that you take the time to consider the great things you have and cherish them. I promise it will make you feel better.
Editor’s note: This is the final part of a five part series that will be posted at https://bayne-jones.tricare.mil and the Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital Facebook page every Wednesday in June for Men’s Health Awareness month.