'I knew I was dying,' Camden man cautions others to go to the doctor

CAMDEN, SC (WIS) - June is Men's Health Month and doctors want you to know how early check-ups and preventative care can save your life in the long run.

WIS spoke to Dr. Cecelia Baskett, a family medicine physician at Palmetto Health. She said she rarely sees men in her office, likely because they just don't want to go to the doctor.

"These men haven't come to the doctor for several years, and I've had several of those in my career," Dr. Baskett said. "And I have to tell them: 'Wow you have problems with your blood pressure where it's really affecting your organs.'"

That fact was true for Hans-Dieter Hammond. He's your average working guy.

"I eat like a horse but I work like a horse," Hammond said.

He's a truck driver who suffered a stroke in January. It's been five months since that near-death experience.

"I got in my pickup truck and drove about half a mile all of a sudden my hand fell off the steering well I couldn't move my legs and thank God I wasn't driving fast," Hammond said.

His truck went into a ditch and a good Samaritan called 911. Upon his flight to Palmetto Health, he was diagnosed with blood clots that he never even knew about. Hammond is 57 and rarely sees a doctor.

"My brain was working I couldn't speak," Hammond said. "I couldn't move I knew I was dying."

Dr. Baskett says men starting at the age of 18, men should get their blood pressure checked and a physical every 3-5 years. At age 35, they should get their cholesterol checked - and by age 40 - they need a full annual physical. For the patient with no other risk factors, cancer screening begins around the age of 50.

But the biggest piece of advice, from someone who was on the brink, is this:

"Thinking and knowing is two different things. If I had known, I would be at risk, of course, I could've done something in advance," Hammond said.

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