Dear Men – This June, Pay Attention to Your Health

[avatar user=”doller” size=”thumbnail” align=”left” link=””]by Denisse Oller[/avatar]

Last week we talked about National Safety Month, but June also marks Men’s Health Month, which is designed to address easily preventable health problems as well as encourage early detection for the treatment of diseases. This month take time to learn about ways to help keep the men in your life healthy – yourself included.

On average, men die five years younger than women, and die at higher rates from nine of the top 10 causes of death. Men are also less likely than women to be insured. Some of the top health risks for men in the United States include heart disease, depression, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, prostate cancer and unintentional injuries.

While this can seem intimidating, being proactive about the steps needed to prevent and detect potential health issues is the best way to stay healthy. Detecting potential issues early and treating them immediately is always the best course of action.

There are several ways in which you can prevent and lower your risk for these common health issues in order to live a healthy and happy life. Our tips include:

  • Visit your doctor: According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, most factors contributing to men’s shorter, less healthy lives are preventable. Often, people are unaware of highest risk factors. Making the time to visit your doctor for a physical every year will establish the baselines necessary to help ensure that any potential health risks are detected and addressed immediately.
  • Get Screened: Prostate cancer is a huge health concern specific to men. About 1 man in 9 will be diagnosed during his lifetime, so it is important to stay vigilant. Older men, and men with a family history of prostate cancer, are at a significantly higher risk. When visiting your doctor, be sure to ask about getting screened.
  • Stay active and eat well: While good for your overall health, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising are especially important for your heart. Having too much body weight can cause your heart work to harder to keep you moving, which increases your risk of heart disease and strokes, but exercise combined with a nutritious diet can help keep your weight under control. Talk to your doctor about the healthy weight range for you – as it varies from person to person.
  • Lower the sodium in your diet, increase the potassium: The average American consumes nearly twice the recommended level of sodium per day. However, men who consume as much potassium as sodium in their diets have lower risk of heart disease.
  • Drink plenty of water: Our bodies need water to survive, and the lack of it can cause dehydration, which studies have shown can harm many aspects of brain and cell function. The Mayo Clinic suggests that men should drink about 15.5 cups of water daily to keep up their hydration levels.
  • Sleep: Lack of sleep comes with worse blood pressure and higher cholesterol, which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

As you can see, there are many everyday measures men can take to stay healthy and prevent common health risks. The most important tip for all males is to simply be proactive. Don’t wait until you gain a couple of pounds to be active and eat healthy, and don’t wait until you are already feeling symptoms to visit your doctor. Be proactive, stay healthy, and live a happy life.