June is National Men’s Healthy month. A month set aside to bring to light how important it is to be proactive and your own advocate when it comes to your health. As a man, there are some things that we tend to neglect. As a man you truly need to make sure the following items are on your list of things not to neglect. Get tested and create a lifestyle that will enhance your overall health. Take care of certain physical issues that are exclusive to being male:
- Low Testosterone (Low-T)
- Prostrate Cancer – if testing is required a PSA Test is usually best
What Men Should Be Testing For and Doing to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
- Colon Cancer – a simple colonoscopy can determine if you have polyps and/or cancerous or precancerous conditions. It is recommended that those age 50-75 have regular colonocopies. Consult your physician to see what they recommend as frequency, based upon your history & family genetics.
- Stroke – strokes are exceptionally common as we age; especially if you have an unhealthy lifestyle such as being overweight, smoking, and/or drinking.
- Heart Disease – a common disease among both men and women; men tend to put aside testing and regular checkups which can help determine your risk factors.
- Osteoporosis – men age 65+ need to check with their physicians to see if they have certain risk factors that would make Osteoporosis a possibility; your doctor will let you know what testing is needed but most likely one of the first tests they will perform will be a bone density test (which is completely painless and very quick).
- Regular Annual Check-ups – many men will put off getting regular checkups with their doctor simply because ‘they’re too busy’; however, your body is not too busy to have a major medical issue that takes your down for long periods or even changes your life completely. Take the time to get your annual checkup and save time that could be lost in your future. You’re worth it!
- Weight – weight plays an important part in everyone’s overall health. If you aren’t eating right, if you are overweight, or if you are simply not eating a healthy diet you are putting yourself at risk for many weight related diseases and health problems.
- Blood Pressure – an important factor in heart health is your blood pressure. It is very important to not only make the time for regular blood pressure checkups but to keep track of your blood pressure. The best way to do this is to have your blood pressure taken at your annual physical and then stop in at your doctor’s office to simply have a nurse or an aid take your blood pressure and record it on your medical records.
- Smoking & Drinking – men are more likely to take up smoking and/or drinking than women. We all know that smoking and drinking can cause a multitude of medical problems. Simply put, it is very important that you stop smoking and be in control of any drinking (socially drinking is acceptable; however, many physicians don’t agree that any alcohol intake can be unhealthy).
- Hearing Loss – many men will suffer hearing losses due to the fact that they work in factories and shops that are extremely loud, causing permanent damage to their ears. Have regular hearing check ups if you are in any conditions which may have damaged your hearing. It is especially important at age 65+ to have your hearing tested regularly as hearing loss is not uncommon among seniors.
- Immunizations – men 65+ should get a flu shot annually. A pneumococcal vaccine is also very highly recommended if it has been 5 years or longer since your last vaccine or if you have never had the pneumococcal vaccine. Tetanus-diphtheria boosters are required every 10 years; so make sure your records are up to date with all vaccines and be certain to ask your doctor if you are up to date with all shots.At age 60+ it is highly recommended that you get a shingles booster/vaccine.
- Diabetes – Type II Diabetes is becoming more and more common as we age. It is a simple matter of unhealthy lifestyles that seems to be the biggest culprit. If you keep a regular checkup on your insulin readings (a simple blood test where your physician will order blood work which requires insulin levels and A1C readings) you and your physician will know if you get Type II Diabetes or if your numbers are creeping up to where you are at risk. While some Type II Diabetes may be genetically predisposed, most who are diagnosed with Type II Diabetes can avoid it with a healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to suffer with living life as a diabetic if you become proactive in your lifestyle. Eat healthy and exercise!
- Eye Exam – it is recommended that you have an annual or bi-annual eye exam to ensure glaucoma and cataracts are not a problem. As we age these eye issues can become more prominent.
- Cholesterol – you should have regular cholesterol checkups; as high cholesterol can be a silent killer. Let your doctor decide how often your cholesterol is checked based upon results and history.
Men are simply less likely to take a proactive approach in their health. Many will put off going to their physician’s for an annual check up, “because nothing’s wrong… I feel great… why waste my precious time when I’m feeling great?” when in reality many conditions that can end your life early or create a quality of life that is extremely low in quality can be avoided with common, simple tests that take minimal effort and time. It’s a matter of setting aside time to, once again, be proactive in your own health.
- Exercise regularly – as little as 20 minutes a day can make a huge difference in your body, your mindset and your life
- Be persistent in getting annual check ups with your physician
- Have regular testing done per your doctor’s recommendations (Prostrate checks, Colonoscopies, Heart Monitoring, and any other tests your physician feels are necessary)
- Consider your mental health to be a part of your overall health picture – this means if you are overly stressed reach out to talk with someone; whether a professional or simply a friend. Make the time to release those inner stresses.
Because I want to see you age in a healthy way, I wanted to present these facts about men’s health. I feel it is very important to be proactive in your own health. You have the power, the right and the knowledge to ensure that you live a long, healthy life! It’s time to eat healthier and move more! I’m looking forward to someday meeting a “Super Senior” (person age 85+) that says to me “I read your blog on being healthy as a man and it made a difference” because nothing would make me happier!
June also happens to be Father’s Day and I’d like to give you the gift of good health by providing you with the tools to get healthy and stay healthy. Have a wonderful Father’s Day!
Dedicated To Your Health & Well-being (and safety),
U.S. National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health: Health Screening Men Age 65 and Older