Step Up to the Plate

 Los Angeles Angels Team Up With St. Joseph Hoag Health

To Encourage Men To ‘Step up to the Plate’ During Men’s Health Month

St. Joseph Hoag Health and the Los Angeles Angels have teamed up to promote Men’s Health Month and encourage men of all ages to get proactive and schedule lifesaving medical checkups and disease screenings. The “Step up to the Plate” partnership is focused on raising awareness about the importance of early diagnosis of diseases such as heart disease as well as testicular, prostate, and colon cancer, which are more effectively treated when detected early.

“Many men don’t go to see the doctor until they are in their 40s, and may miss opportunities to catch diseases early because they are a little embarrassed or because they procrastinate,” said Angels pitcher Hector Santiago. “‘Stepping up to the Plate’ encourages men to see their doctors, get these screenings and do what’s best for their health and their families’ well-being.” Santiago and several other Angels players will be wearing blue mustaches and blue sweatbands during warm-ups before the June 15 game against the Arizona Diamondbacks to draw attention to preventive health screenings for men.

“June is the perfect time of year for men to commit to making a simple doctor’s appointment,” said Warren Johnston, MD, director of medical cardiology at St. Joseph Heritage Medical Group. “Many relatively minor symptoms can be signs of serious medical conditions. Men should never feel as if they are ‘bothering’ their physician by asking questions about what they are experiencing. Your physician is there to help you and wants to know how you are feeling so he or she can give you the most effective treatment. We’re so proud to be partnering with the Los Angeles Angels to help shine a big light on the importance of routine checkups.”

High cholesterol, colorectal cancer, high blood pressure, prostate cancer and skin cancer are just a few of the diseases that can be detected and treated early from regular screenings and doctor visits, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The “Step up to the Plate” effort continues an ongoing partnership between St. Joseph Hoag Health and the Angels to promote health education and awareness in communities across Orange County and Los Angeles.

Ryan Zeber, 37, a former Angels minor league player, started angiogram screenings 12 years ago after seeing the impact of heart disease on his family. Ryan Zeber’s aunt died of heart disease in 2010 and his father, George, was later diagnosed with a large aortic aneurysm. George Zeber, a member of the two-time World Champion 1977-1978 New York Yankees, said a doctor’s visit and a screening saved his life. “Dr. Johnston reminded me that heart disease can be inherited, so it prompted me to get in and get checked,” George Zeber, a 64-year-old Tustin resident, said.

“As Major Leaguers, it’s our job to trust and rely on the knowledge of our coaches and trainers to help improve our game and keep our bodies in the best possible condition to perform. It shouldn’t be any different in the game of life.  We as men need to make time to listen to our doctor’s advice on how they can improve our health through simple periodic testing,” said Tyler Skaggs, Angels left-handed pitcher. “The only way more men can start having these life-saving conversations with their doctors is to step up and make an appointment — today.”

Jack Southwood, a 92-year-old WWII veteran who has coronary artery disease, has been a patient of Dr. Johnston’s since he suffered a heart attack 25 years ago. “My wife has told him many times, ‘You saved Jack,'” Southwood, a Tustin resident, said. Southwood still walks 1.5 miles four or five times a week. The grandfather of nine has followed Dr. Johnston’s recommendations for tests, medications and living a healthy lifestyle. “It’s so foolish to do these bad things like smoking and heavy drinking that take away your longevity,” Southwood said.

About Step up to the Plate:
St. Joseph Hoag Health is teaming up with the Los Angeles Angels this month – Men’s Health Month – to encourage men of all ages to see their doctors and get important health screenings. The goal of “Step up to the Plate” is to emphasize the ease and effectiveness of simple life-saving tests and checkups, which men far too often put off. Getting the right health services, screenings, and treatments through regular medical exams is proven to dramatically improve men’s chances for living longer, healthier lives.

About St. Joseph Health:
St. Joseph Health (SJH) is a not-for-profit, integrated health care delivery system that includes 16 hospitals, physician organizations, home health agencies, hospice care, outpatient services, skilled nursing facilities and community outreach services. Founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, SJH remains rooted to the sisters’ traditions of assessing a community’s needs and adapting strategies to meet those needs. Today, SJH continues its work in the tradition of the sisters through its wide networks of outstanding services. In each region it serves, SJH reaches out to care for the poor and vulnerable, establishing and supporting many programs and services that benefit the community.

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