Men’s Health Conference offers a variety of testing

The Men’s Health Conference, coming to Pennington Biomedical Research Center on Saturday, draws about 600 men every year. For many, it could be the easiest way to get an annual exam.

Screenings from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. will include blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rhythm, stroke risk and more.

“It’s about delivering the message, ‘Hey, guys, you’ve got to take care of your health,’” says Dr. Curtis Chastain, president of the Louisiana Men’s Health Organization, which presents the free conference.

In addition to the screenings, doctors will present sessions throughout the day on such topics as heart health, sleep problems, back pain, low testosterone and preventive screenings for men over age 50.

Chastain says most men who come to him for their first checkup are there because it’s something their wives asked them to do. Or the men have received a scare, after a close family member or friend has suffered a heart attack or other illness.

“This is the same guy who hears a funny ticking noise under the hood of his car, and it won’t be 10 minutes until he’s off the road, checking on it,” Chastain said.

The conference is a chance to get some basic health checks and to get questions answered.

The keynote speaker for the event is Sal Gonzales Jr., a spokesman for the Wounded Warrior Project. At 8:45 a.m. Gonzales will talk about programs and services the project provides to severely injured servicemen between active duty and civilian life. Gonzales, who joined the Marines after the attacks of 9/11, was hit by an improvised explosive device in Iraq in 2004. His left leg was later amputated below the knee. He now uses a prosthetic leg and is pursuing his lifelong passion for music.

Breakfast and lunch will also be provided at the conference that ends at 1 p.m..

To register for the free event, visit