The New Year is a time of high resolve and renewed goals, and oftentimes being healthier tops the list. Javier Arenas, M.D., recently provided his tips for men on achieving that “be healthy” goal this year.
As a urologist in El Paso with privileges at Del Sol Medical Center, Dr. Arenas has counseled and treated men with prostate issues, and much of the advice he gives to his patients can be used for overall good health.
What issues do you treat or diagnose at your practice?
Dr. Arenas: I am an adult urologist and am fellowship trained in robotic surgery and complex kidney stone disease. I see patients with a wide variety of urologic concerns, including men with prostate issues or concerns for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate; erectile dysfunction; libido concerns and much more.
What causes prostate cancer?
Dr. Arenas: Prostate cancer can depend on a number of things, including your family history, race, and whether or not you have some high-risk factors, such as a high-fat diet and smoking.
Who is at high-risk for prostate cancer?
Dr. Arenas: That can depend on a number of things, including family history and race, specifically men of African-American decent. Both of these factors can significantly increase your risk. Also, men over the age of 65 are generally at a higher risk than those younger. Frequent alcohol consumption, obesity and smoking are also potential risk factors.
How can people reduce their risk?
Dr. Arenas: It’s general healthy living. Don’t smoke. Avoid regular, heavy use of alcohol. Avoid a high-fatty diet. Aside from that, it’s also important to detect problems early. Visit your physician if you have any concerns, and talk to him or her. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your health. Education is a key component to being healthy.
What advice do you have for men who have questions about their health or concerns about their prostate?
Dr. Arenas: First of all, if you are in the high-risk category (because of race, family history, age or other risk factors) of developing prostate cancer, you should be seeing a urologist at least once a year, and sometimes more. Again, it’s so important to ask questions. Men tend to avoid healthcare unless there’s something really wrong, but the more people understand symptoms and risk, the less scary potential outcomes become. For prostate cancer, when found early it can often be cured, not just treated.
What do you love most about being a physician?
Dr. Arenas: I chose surgery because I think it fixes problems, and that’s a great feeling. Taking out cancer or removing a kidney stone, fixing a problem and hearing from the patient that they feel better afterward, both physically and emotionally, is the best thing about what I do.
If you weren’t a urologist, what other profession would you be?
Dr. Arenas: I’ve always been good at and really interested in science. I started working at a hospital early and leaned toward healthcare because it provides a service to people. Even if I wasn’t a urologist, I would still be in a field that’s healthcare-related and using my science background.
Dr. Arenas is an El Paso native and finished his residency seven years ago. He served four and a half years active duty in the Air Force as a urologist, including six months in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.