Research shows that only 30 per cent of a male’s overall health is determined by his genetics. It follows, then, that most threats to a men’s health should be largely preventable.
Yet, among other findings, research shows that men are dying from heart disease at an earlier age, are at a significantly higher risk of dying from liver disease, and have an increased risk of dying from diabetes. If men intend to live a longer, healthier life, avoiding spending their last decade of life in poor health, it is time to make the few lifestyle changes now that can have a big impact on life.
Here are 10 tips to add up to ten healthy years to the middle of your life.
1. Drop some pounds, especially belly fat. Being overweight or obese is associated with the development of a multitude of diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
2. Eat more fruits and vegetables; reduce salt and sugar. Aim for 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. To cut down on salt, hide the salt shaker and eat less packaged foods and restaurant meals. If you give up sugary sodas and save desserts for a special treat, you’ll be surprised at your weight loss over a month.
3. Be more physically active. Thirty minutes of physical activity five times a week is a good target.
4. Quit smoking. It can be hard but there are plenty of resources (including your doctor) to help you quit.
5. Check your blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause strokes, heart attacks, and heart and kidney failure. Men of all ages, even under age 30, can have high blood pressure and many do not know it.
6. Check your cholesterol. Although important to your health, having too much in your diet can lead to clogged arteries, heart attack and stroke.
7. Watch out for diabetes. Adult-onset (Type 2) diabetes is on the rise. The source of many other health problems, diabetes can be prevented with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
8. Drink alcohol in moderation. Too much for most men is more than 2 drinks a day or 14 per week.
9. Take good care of your mind. Many men overlook mental health as a concern but stress, anxiety, depression and suicide can be particularly prominent among men.
10. Manage your health. That includes getting the necessary tests recommended for your particular age and being open with your doctor or nurse practitioner about any health concerns you may have.
Currently, the Agassiz Community Health Centre has available for you, at the Agassiz Public Library, a variety of informational brochures about topics that are specific to men’s health. An excellent resource of online information can be found at the website – AboutMen.ca. And, finally, the health professionals at the local Community Health Centre are always available to provide you with relevant information.
(Contributed by the Agassiz Community Health Centre with acknowledgement to the Men’s Health Initiative)