It's well-known that men have a shorter life expectancy than women, perhaps due to higher rates of alcohol and tobacco use, fewer trips to the doctor or stress at work. As such, there are detailed guidelines for preventive efforts against prostate cancer, colon cancer and heart disease, which are the most common life-threatening conditions that men develop.
June is Men's Health Awareness Month, a time during which you may want to drop hints about screenings and healthy living to the important guys in your life.
Screenings and tests may save a life
We all know that prevention is the best medicine, but perhaps your spouse, partner, brother or dad needs the occasional reminder. Consider posting the following facts and guidelines on the fridge or in another location where the men in your life will notice it.
Cholesterol levels should be checked about every year after age 35. A reading for elevated cholesterol indicates a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, but the good news is that it's relatively easy to lower levels of blood lipids through diet and exercise.
Blood pressure is another important yet modifiable risk factor for poor heart health. A high blood pressure reading may reveal an increased chance of developing cardiovascular problems, kidney disease or stroke. But much like cholesterol levels, blood pressure can often be brought down by changing certain lifestyle habits.
Colorectal cancer screenings should be performed regularly on men who are 50 and older. While unpleasant, colonoscopies and other testing methods have been shown to save numerous lives from cancer.
Prostate cancer screening has come under scrutiny lately, with opponents of regular testing asserting that it can lead to false positive results or unnecessary and detrimental treatment. But prostate cancer remains a major concern among men, so it's important for older males to talk to their doctor about their risk factors for the carcinoma to determine an appropriate screening schedule.
Eating regular, balanced meals and getting exercise every day can go a long way toward disease prevention. Moreover, men who are near or in their golden years have different needs than their younger counterparts.
It's important for men in their 40s, 50s and beyond to consume a diet that is rich in calcium and vitamin D to promote strong bones. A high intake of fiber has been shown to keep the digestive system operating smoothly, which may keep the risk of colorectal conditions low. Men with blood pressure issues need to limit how much sodium they consume and should consider taking a potassium supplement, because the mineral is key to regulating blood pressure. Additionally, an extra serving of fish, nuts and olive oil each week may help men keep their body weight normal. Healthy fats are known to nourish the body without accumulating in the arteries.
If your partner, brother or father has trouble getting adequate physical activity, consider making the simple effort to go on a walk with him at the end of the day. You may find that the time spent together benefits both of you.
Men's Health Center