Did you know that more boys than girls are born annually in the U.S.? Interesting, but conversely the average U.S. female outlives the average U.S. male by five years. Right from the start, boys suffer more health issues, illness, and accidents, and die earlier than their female counterparts. Out of the 15 leading causes of death, men lead women in all except Alzheimer’s.
While the reasons are partly biological, men’s approach to their health plays a big role. Men go to the doctor less and tend to prioritize health lower than women.
So, we say – let’s do something about it! Men’s Health Week is celebrated every year in June and it’s an opportunity for men across the globe to put a spotlight on their overall health and do a check-in.
Start with knowing and understanding the threats.
The number killer of both men and women is heart disease- one in five people dies from it. Other culprits include lung disease, prostate cancer and diabetes. Erectile dysfunction, while not life-threatening, can be an indication of other health issues. Men are also at risk for depression and suicide.
These health threats are often preventable if caught early and managed. Many can be avoided altogether by living a healthy lifestyle.
So, focus on these five simple things to greatly decrease your risk of illness and health issues throughout your life:
Get Your Annual Physical Exam!
Your primary care physician will check weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and other vitals which gives you a great baseline for your overall health. He or she will then guide you depending on your exam results, potential health issues family history, and age as to what screenings and other tests are needed.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight can lead to heart disease, diabetes, joint problems, depression, sleep apnea, and other issues. A balanced diet and proper nutrition are key. If you need some guidance here, VIDA Registered Dieticians are a great place to start.
This ties into #2 maintaining a healthy weight, but in addition to that, exercise will make your heart healthier, relieve stress, improve your sex life and sleep, enhance your mood and a host of other benefits. Exercise regularly period.
Get enough sleep
Sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain, depression and anxiety and many other health issues. Strive for seven or eight hours nightly. Eliminate screen time – your computer or phone – at least one hour before heading to get your z’s and you’ll sleep more soundly.
Get screened for cancer
Most men need their first colonoscopy at age 50 but depending on family history and other factors this could be earlier. Screening for prostate cancer usually begins at 50 as well. Current and former smokers should ask about a lung cancer screening. If you do smoke, quit! Kicking the habit can lower your risk of heart disease, asthma, lung cancer and many other health issues.
When you boil it down, looking after your health is not difficult, and the reward for that is living a longer, more fulfilling and satisfying life. So why wouldn’t you?