Men, you can stay safer, stronger, and healthier by taking a few steps toward health each day and by seeking care when you need it. To get serious about improving your health, start by reviewing these suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other organizations.
- Learn Your Family Health History. Know which conditions or diseases have occurred in your close relatives. Knowing your family history and taking appropriate steps can influence your risk of developing many conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer.
- Know and Understand Your Numbers. While most men know the stats of their favorite sports team or player, they rarely keep track of their own blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), and weight.
- Work Safely. On a daily basis, as many as 11,500 workers suffer from nonfatal work-related injuries or illnesses. More than 50% need work restrictions, job transfers, or time off as a result. Know your job requirements, use safety equipment properly, get proper training, use help when needed, take breaks and rest when needed, and use hazardous substances with care.
- Partner with Your Doctor or Nurse to Stay Healthy. Get checkups on a regular basis. Just because you feel fine doesn’t mean you’re healthy. Checking for cancer, depression, abdominal aortic aneurysms, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sexually transmitted diseases, and obesity are crucial. Prevention is the best way to stay healthy for the long term.
- Get Vaccinated. Many people assume that vaccines are for kids, but many are for adults or need to be given as boosters as we get older. Diphtheria, herpes zoster, influenza, pneumococcus, and tetanus are just a few of the vaccines you should check with your doctor about.
- Pay Attention to Signs and Symptoms. Signs and symptoms such as a discharge, excessive thirst, a rash or sore that doesn’t heal, difficulty urinating, shortness of breath, and others can be signs of more serious conditions that can often be treated if quickly and correctly diagnosed.
- Take Daily Action to Improve Your Health. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and depression as well as many work-related accidents.
- Gear Up. When playing sports or riding bikes or motorcycles, wear protective gear such as helmets, wrist guards, and knee and elbow pads. Wear a seat belt and don’t drive while intoxicated or under the influence of any drugs/medications.
- Eat What Counts. Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fiber, and lean meats, as we;; as foods that are low in saturated fat, empty calories, sugar, and sodium. Choose healthy snacks.
- Get Physical. Get physically active for at least 3 hours a week. Include activities that raise your breathing and heart rate and strengthen your muscles.
- Be Smoke-Free. Don’t smoke or quit if you already smoke. Secondhand smoke can also be dangerous.
- Keep Boys and Young Men Healthy. Teach young boys and girls to “choose respect.” Help them build safe and healthy relationships with family and friends. Get help or counseling for a troubled child if needed. Help your young men stay current on their vaccines, stay active, and follow the same safety precautions as adults.
Educating yourself about risks is the first step in improving your health. Taking action is the next step. The results will make you feel great!
The Key to Improving Men’s Health
While many women are in tune with their health and the health of their families, most men need to pay more attention to their bodies. Men still smoke and drink more than women and often define themselves by their work, which can be a source of significant stress.
The following are some of the most common health threats for younger men:
- Heart disease
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases
- Influenza and pneumonia
- Kidney disease
As men age, their health care needs are likely to change. The top ten health threats for men as they age include:
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Lung cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Prostate disease
- Testicular cancer
No matter how old you are, the statement that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is especially true when it comes to men’s health. Most of the diseases listed above are preventable and can be detected early when men take the time to see their health care providers for routine screenings and physical exams.