Prevention is the best medicine. In fact, many of the health issues men face are preventable and treatable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the top five leading causes of death among men are heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke. Heart disease is number one, killing one in every four males in the U.S.
Men can take charge of their personal health and wellness by getting important health screenings, eating healthier, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, staying injury free, practicing safe sex, drinking in moderation, and being tobacco free. It may sound like a lot to do, but it’s totally doable, and it doesn’t have to be done in a silo.
Men’s health is everyone’s business. Whether it’s for yourself as a man, or you have a husband, son, uncle or brother. Keeping our men healthy is a team effort. So, where does one start? Here are five heart healthy suggestions to keep our men healthy.
1. Get Regular Health Checkups
Annual checkups could save your life. They are a proactive approach to staying well. It allows you and your doctor to identify what’s normal for you, which makes it easier to diagnose issues early on, before they become a problem. Sometimes, doctors can even catch things before any symptoms appear. Ask your doctor what screenings are needed and when. This is also a good time to track personal numbers such as blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and body mass index. Maintaining and managing these at normal values are important to prevent things like heart disease and stroke. And get vaccinated. Immunizations help maintain health, regardless of age.
Ask your doctor what screenings are needed and when. This is also a good time to track personal numbers such as blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and body mass index. Maintaining and managing these at normal values are important for preventing things like heart disease and stroke.
Also, get vaccinated. Immunizations help maintain health, regardless of age.
2. Get Good Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can be associated with a number of conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression.
The amount of sleep one needs changes with age. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep. It’s also important that we don’t hinder getting good sleep with stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks, and external lights—including those from electronic devices. These things can interfere with our “circadian rhythm” or natural sleep/wake cycle.
3. Toss the Tobacco
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking. It’s never too late to quit, and quitting produces immediate and long-term benefits. It lowers the risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, erectile dysfunction, and other illnesses.
Additionally, it’s also important to avoid second-hand smoke, which is just as smoking dangerous as smoking yourself—if not more so. It can also cause heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke.
4. Be Active
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. One way to control your weight is to be active. Staying active helps you to build stamina, stay fit and flexible, and burn calories as you move.
It’s recommended that adults get at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week and do muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week. Remember to work all your major muscle groups, including your legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms.
5. Eat Healthier
I know this is sometimes easier said than done, so I won’t recommend you “remove” anything from your diet. Rather, I suggest that you “replace” certain things, substituting those processed, packaged, canned, and fatty foods with a variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, and lean meats.
Most perishable food is a great source of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, which protect against disease. If your food can live longer on the shelf than you can, then that’s a problem. Also, make snacks healthier with portion control, limiting the consumption of food and drinks that are high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol.
To take a health assessment and find out how to get and stay healthy, visit MyLifeCheck.org.
Want to Learn More and Keep the Conversation Going?
Join me, the American Heart Association, and BMe for a #MensHealthMonth Twitter chat Thursday, June 22, 2017, at 12 p.m. CST/1 p.m. EST. We’ll talk more about how men can stay healthy, relieve stress, eat healthier, and live longer lives.