June is Men’s Health Month, a time to raise awareness about the unique health issues men face and to encourage early detection, treatment, and prevention.

First, we would like to congratulate our volunteers, partners, and clients with the end of the 44th spring health fair season. This spring, Alaska Health Fair, Inc. (AHF), a nonprofit focusing on health education and affordable blood screenings since 1980, delivered dozens of health fairs and thousands of affordable blood draws in all corners of the state. AHF health fairs would not be possible without the help of 250+ volunteers and 150+ local partners including nonprofits, businesses, and government organizations, that donated their time to make health fairs a resounding success. Finally, we appreciate the thousands of people like you who attended the health fairs and those who brought their friends and family to these events– you are the reason we exist. By participating in health fairs, you are taking charge of your health, learning about important health topics, and taking advantage of preventative screenings – all things vital for staying in optimal health. We thank all of you! Now back to men’s health.

Men’s health issues can often go unnoticed or undiagnosed, which is why it’s crucial to prioritize regular check-ups and screenings. By taking an active role in your health, you can reduce your risk of developing serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

AHF offers a variety of blood screenings that can provide valuable information about your health. However, please keep in mind that while blood tests are a valuable tool, only your healthcare provider can see the complete picture of your health. AHF recommends that you take your blood test results to your doctor. Here are some key screenings that can be particularly informative.

  1. Comprehensive Blood Chemistry Panel: This test measures various components of your blood, providing insight into your kidney, liver, as well as glucose, electrolyte, and lipid levels.

  1. Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test: Beginning at about age 45, all men should talk to their doctor about screening for prostate cancer. If you are Black or have a family history of prostate or other cancers, you may be at higher risk and should talk to your doctor beginning at age 40. This test measures the level of PSA, a protein produced by the prostate gland, to help detect potential issues like prostate cancer or an enlarged prostate.

  1. Testosterone Level Test: Testosterone is a vital hormone for men, responsible for regulating bone density, muscle mass, and mental well-being. Insufficient testosterone levels may result in symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and diminished sexual drive. While the testosterone test is typically performed as a diagnostic test based on specific symptoms, rather than as a routine screening, AHF encourages individuals to consult with their healthcare providers to determine whether this test is necessary and to discuss the results. This personalized approach ensures that each man receives the appropriate care and guidance for his unique health needs.

  1. Vitamin D Test: Vitamin D is necessary for healthy bones, and a deficiency can result in bone pain, muscle weakness, and increased risk of fractures.

  1. Hemoglobin A1C Test: This test measures your average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months, helping to identify potential risks for diabetes or pre-diabetes.

  1. Blood pressure screening is an important test offered by Alaska Health Fair.  Nearly half of adults in the U.S. have hypertension or are taking medication for hypertension. A greater percentage of men (50%) have hypertension than women (44%).

Although spring health fairs have come to an end, AHF will be back with more health fairs beginning in August. To be notified when our new schedule is published, sign up for the AHF newsletter on www.alaskahealthfair.org.

Alaska Men’s Run – A Valuable Resource for All Alaskans

AHF is proud of its long-standing partnership with the Alaska Men’s Run, an organization that has been making a significant impact on men’s health in our community for over 30 years. This collaboration has enabled us to provide free prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests at all AHF health fairs, while supplies last. Let’s take a closer look at the Alaska Men’s Run, their mission, and the importance of PSA testing.

The Alaska Men’s Run (AMR) is an annual event held in Anchorage, which aims to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues, primarily prostate and testicular cancer. Established in 1989, the AMR has grown to become a significant force in the battle against these cancers. The event features a 5-mile run, as well as a 2-mile walk, allowing participants of all fitness levels to join in and show their support.  This year’s run is on September 21, and we encourage you to visit their website today for further information – alaskamensrun.com.

In addition to raising awareness and funds, the AMR provides financial assistance to men in Alaska who are dealing with prostate or testicular cancer. This support can help cover expenses related to treatment, travel, and other necessities, easing the burden on those affected by these conditions.

Through the partnership between AHF and the AMR, free PSA tests have been made available to men attending AHF health fairs. This collaboration has allowed countless men to access this essential screening at no cost, potentially saving lives by enabling early detection and intervention.

PSA testing is crucial because early detection of prostate cancer increases the chances of successful treatment. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the United States, and early detection can help reduce the risk of severe health complications and improve survival rates.  Metastatic prostate cancer is currently incurable.

About AHF

Alaska Health Fair, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting wellness and disease prevention throughout Alaska. For over 40 years, we’ve been organizing health fairs and providing affordable, comprehensive blood tests to empower individuals to take control of their health. With our team of dedicated staff and volunteers, we strive to create healthier communities across the state.

Note: this is a revision of the article ran by AHF Team in June of 2023.