If you’re male – or if there’s a guy in your life – it’s highly likely you don’t consider health a major issue. But research shows men die younger, and they are often sick long before they realize something is wrong.
Men’s Health Month every June puts the focus on males — friends, brothers, dads, boyfriends, spouses and bosses. We want to show every guy we care about them and their health.
Heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in men, says the CDC. Men are also prone to diabetes, depression or sexual dysfunction, and often don’t realize the risk of high blood pressure or glaucoma, which causes blindness.
If that male body was a car, it would get regular maintenance. Right? The pay-off is avoiding all sorts of “engine problems” and keeping the machine well-oiled and working optimally.
In fact, many of the leading causes of these health problems can be prevented. It’s all about lifestyle, and about seeing a doctor regularly. Here are some guidelines that work for any guy:
- Quit smoking. Smoke is never good news. If you smoke or use tobacco products, get help quitting. Steer clear of secondhand smoke. Avoid air pollution as much as possible. Protect yourself from chemicals in your job.
- Cut junk food. If you cook for yourself, stir-fry and grilling are best for fixing veggies and lean protein like fish. Less saturated fat and sodium – that’s your goal. Fruits and whole grains are important too. Lots of guys are opting for breakfast smoothies to start the day with good nutrition. Your blender is your friend.
- Lose weight. Get sleek like a sports car. If you’ve put on excess pounds, shedding them will greatly improve your health. Your risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer will dip greatly.
- Get moving. A little regular exercise is the secret to weight control. Don’t worry, you don’t have to sweat at the gym. Brisk walking is a good start. Pick a sport you enjoy, like biking, tennis or basketball. Weights are good too, or those black resistance bands. Every minute of physical activity will help your health.
- Cut the alcohol. Moderation is not mean-spirited. That’s two drinks daily for men 65 and younger. Older men should keep it at one drink daily. Cancer risk, especially liver cancer, appears to increase when you drink more. Too much alcohol is also bad for blood pressure.
Stop Avoiding Doctors!
Get the tests – cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar. It’s good information to help you prevent trouble. When you know where you stand, you can fix it – right? Doctors can help you prevent health problems, so don’t avoid those yearly doctor appointments.
And if you’re over age 40, see an optometrist every year for a vision and glaucoma test. Glaucoma is like high blood pressure and diabetes – there are no symptoms until it’s too late. You don’t know the damage is happening.
So just do it. Make the appointments. Change your ways. It’s all about priorities – about living long enough to enjoy all the times ahead. Don’t blow it by ignoring your health. People depend on you; be there for them for the long haul.
If you’re looking for a primary care physician, call 812-485-4DOC(4362) or visit StVincentSWIN.org/4DOC.