This month, we celebrate men.
According to the internet, June is dedicated to helping men to find their way to wellness. It reads: “The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.”
The list of leading threats to men’s health is surprisingly…short. At the top of the list (no surprise here…0 is heart disease, followed by cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Men are like Superman…invincible…until they’re not.
New research shows that health issues first started nagging at men as early as their late 30’s. What?
But as men age, their worries move from aching backs and joints to scarier health concerns…as they should.
As men move into their 40’s and 50’s, they grow more concerned about heart disease, erectile dysfunction, prostate and colon cancer, stroke and their risk for dementia as they age. And if they see some of these health issues in theirs fathers or brothers or friends, they begin to wonder what steps they can take to potentially avoid these same problems.
Here are our men’s top worries…and they’re right to worry…
…with cancer and enlargement (benign prostate hypertrophy) being at the top of the list…as they should be! Check-ups, my dear men…check-ups.
Their Hearts (cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol and triglycerides)
Heart disease is the leading killers of men (and women.) If heart disease runs in the family or if your blood pressure or cholesterol and triglyceride levels are high; if you live on processed food, soda and meat, these plagues should be more than concerns for you. The alarm should be sounding loud and clear.
As we age, our metabolisms slow down, so it’s more important than ever to closely examine what…and how much…you’re eating. And we all know that exercise becomes essential for maintaining a healthy weight, strong muscles and bones and flexibility.
Their Blood Sugar
With nearly 79 million Americans diagnosed as being pre-diabetic (elevated blood sugar which is the precursor to Type 2 diabetes); it’s essential to look at diet and exercise as ways to help prevent this modern plague. As we know all too well, Type 2 diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, vision loss and loss of limbs.
Their Risk of Stroke
The warning signs of stroke can elude even the most self-aware of us. Having had one myself (when a brain aneurysm burst back in 1998), I can attest that we miss most of the signs. Any weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg(s), confusion, difficulty speaking or comprehending, vision challenges, dizziness, or problems with walking or balance are cause to sound the alarm…call 911.
If you or someone you know develops any of these problems, call 911. Immediate treatment in the emergency department with clot-busting medication can save lives and prevent disability.
So what can men do to celebrate their health rather than worry about it?
Stop smoking (or don’t start…)
Eat lots of veggies
Add whole grains to your diet regularly
Eat beans, tofu and tempeh
Go nuts for nuts and good quality fats like extra virgin olive oil and avocados
Ditch meat, poultry and dairy foods
Don’t drink a lot (except water…stay hydrated…I’m talking alcohol here)
Drive by the drive through
Work out as though your life depended on it (it does…)
Skip white sugar and white flour
In the end, stuff happens to the healthiest of us. None of us gets out of this alive, as they say. But living well, eating well and staying fit helps ensure that the time you have in this life will be the time of your life.