Men, this week is for you! Actually, the entire month of June is National Men’s Health Month. With Father’s Day being this Sunday, we wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate all the dads out there, be they biological, adoptive, spiritual, or chosen. So this one is for you, Dads!
When it comes to a healthier body and mind, prevention is critical. Men’s Health Week aims to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.
So many of the factors for the top 10 health risks for men are preventable. Learning what to look for and what changes to make can help lower those risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the top causes of death among adult men in the U.S. are heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke. Add Diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Suicide, Chronic liver disease, and Kidney disease to the list, and you’ve rounded off the top ten.
The good news is that you can take charge of your health by making a few lifestyle changes. The Mayo Clinic gives some straightforward advice that will sound familiar to anyone who’s heard ANY of Joe’s advice:
- Don’t smoke. If you do smoke or use other tobacco products, ask your doctor to help you quit. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution, and chemicals, such as those in the workplace.
- Eat a healthy diet. Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods, and lean protein sources, such as fish. Limit foods high in saturated and trans fats and foods with added sugar and sodium. As Joe would say, “Eat your colors!”
- Maintain a healthy weight. Losing excess pounds — and keeping them off — can lower your risk of heart disease as well as various types of cancer.
- Get moving. Exercise can help you control your weight, lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, and possibly lower your risk of certain types of cancer. Choose activities you enjoy, such as tennis, basketball, or brisk walking. All physical activity benefits your health.
- Limit alcohol. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. That means up to two drinks a day if you are age 65 or younger and one drink a day if you are older than 65. Examples of one drink include 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters) of beer, 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters) of wine, or 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters) of standard 80-proof liquor. The risk of various types of cancer, such as liver cancer, appears to increase with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time you’ve been drinking regularly. Too much alcohol can also raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Manage stress. If you constantly feel on edge or under pressure, your lifestyle habits may suffer — and so might your immune system. Take steps to reduce stress — or learn to deal with stress in healthy ways.
And for the love of everyone in your life who loves YOU —
Don’t wait to visit the doctor until something is seriously wrong.
Your doctor can be your best ally for maintaining health and preventing disease. Follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations if you have health issues, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Also, ask your doctor about when to have preventive care such as cancer screenings, vaccinations, and other health evaluations.
Understanding health risks is one thing. Taking action to reduce your risks is something altogether different and powerful. Start by making healthy lifestyle choices. The impact might be more significant than you’ll ever know, not only for you but for those you love. Stay healthy so you can stay around longer.
Go to your scheduled checkups, learn the risk factors, and start or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Take advantage of all the links in this post. You make such a profound difference in the lives of those around you. Your kids, however they came to be in your life, are watching you lead by example. Lead them in the way they should go. Start with your health.
Happy Father’s Day!