We all have men in our lives, and with Father’s Day chosen as its anchor, Men’s Health Week is all about emphasizing the importance of preventative healthcare and a healthy lifestyle for boys and men so we can have them in our lives longer.
This week, observed from June 12-20 as a part of the longer celebration of National Men’s Health Month, shifts the focus from just treating male health problems, to preventing them before they even happen. It encourages men to take control of their health, and for men and families alike to teach their young boys healthy habits in childhood.
This Men’s Health Week, Barton Associates has compiled a list of the top preventable men’s health issues as reported by the CDC, and what actions men can take to prevent and detect them early on.
1. Heart Disease
The top cause of death for men in the U.S. is heart disease. The good news is that, by managing their unique risk factors, men can play an active role in their heart health and the prevention of this disease.
Of course, it goes without saying that men should maintain an active lifestyle and a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables, but there are more factors at play when actively minimizing your risk of heart disease.
After diet and exercise, one of the best things you can do for your heart is to avoid smoking or using tobacco at all costs. Heart disease is caused by clogged arteries, and smoking does exactly that, increasing the formation of plaque in blood vessels and forming blood clots in veins and arteries.
High blood pressure and high cholesterol can also damage your heart and blood vessels, so it is not only recommended to manage stress and take your prescribed medications regularly, but to also get regular check ups and health screenings, the big three checks being your blood pressure, cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes screenings.
The most common cancers diagnosed in men as reported by the CDC include prostate, lung, colorectal, and bladder cancers. Men’s likelihood to be diagnosed with these cancers goes up with age, but they are very treatable if caught early.
The biggest favor men can do for themselves to prevent prostate and colorectal cancers is to not skip out on their screenings. As for lung cancer, the best thing to do is to quit smoking, or better, never start in the first place. And of course, for skin cancer and melanoma, men should be sure to wear their sunscreen regularly (yes, even in the winter!), and get regular check ups with a dermatologist, being sure to get any new spots, moles, or discoloration checked immediately.
Unfortunately, no screening is yet available for bladder cancer, however, it is associated with a sedentary lifestyle, so the best thing men can do is to stay active. You don’t have to run a marathon, but try to get your 30 to 60 minutes of activity in everyday.
3. Chronic Lower Respiratory (Lung) Disease
We hate to sound like a broken record, but the #1 way men and boys can prevent lung disease is to quit or avoid smoking. Smoking releases harmful toxins and carcinogens into your lungs which can cause lung cancer and lung disease. If you’re already a smoker, it’s never too late to quit, and there are plenty of resources to get help, and if you haven’t ever smoked, don’t pick it up.
Men can also set an example for young boys in their life by either quitting or refraining from smoking, and teaching kids the dangers of smoking. Teaching good habits young prevents disease later.
This Men’s Health Week, make a commitment to yourself, and to your family to prioritize your health by scheduling that check up, livening up your diet with some superfoods, or hitting the gym.