JUNE IS MEN’S HEALTH MONTH. This is an important time of year to bring heightened awareness to preventable health problems and encourage routine doctor’s visits for early detection and treatment of certain conditions. Some of the leading health concerns among men are heart disease and cancers.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men of most racial/ethnic groups in the United States. Risk factors for heart diseases include high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking. Other contributing factors include diabetes, obesity, diet, physical inactivity, and family history.
Cancer also is a huge health risk among men. The three most common cancers among men are prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer. Although these cancers can be deadly, many cancer deaths can be prevented with early detection. A person’s cancer risk can be reduced by receiving regular medical care, avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol use, avoiding excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning beds, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, and being physically active.
The website for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — cdc.gov — is a great resource for any health-related questions and information. Also, the Florida Department of Health’s website, mypolkhealth.org, can provide information on services offered locally to help combat these proximate health issues.
Here are five easy steps a man can take to preserve his health:
1. Get good sleep: Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression.
2. Avoid tobacco use: It lowers your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses.
3. Be active: Adults need at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as brisk walking) every week, and muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) on two or more days a week.
4. Eat healthy: Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. They are sources of many vitamins, minerals, and other natural substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol. Choose healthy snacks.
5. Stay on top of regular checkups: See your healthcare provider for regular checkups. Certain diseases and conditions may not have symptoms, so checkups help diagnose issues early or before they can become a problem. Pay attention to signs and symptoms, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, excessive thirst, and problems with urination. If you have these or symptoms of any kind, be sure to see your doctor right away. Don’t wait!
article by JOY JACKSON, MD
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Joy Jackson, an internal medicine physician, serves the community as director of the Florida Department of Health in Polk County (FDOH-Polk). For more information about FDOH-Polk, visit www.mypolkhealth.net.
Posted June 2, 2016