The purpose of Men's Health Month is to highlight men's health issues, raise awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases. Part of being aware is looking at the impact of lifestyle choices on health, such as dietary habits, smoking and alcohol use.
The biggest threats to men's health are mostly preventable. The three leading causes of death for men are heart disease, cancer and unintentional injuries according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Take these steps and recommendations to promote men's health and reduce your risks of these fatal conditions. Here's what you need to know to live a longer, healthier life.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death, according to the CDC. The leading risk factors for heart disease are: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking, lack of physical activity, stress and poor diet.
Screenings can help monitor and take care of any problems early on. Once you reach adulthood, it is recommended having your blood pressure checked at least every two years. Healthy adults need their cholesterol checked at least once every five years. Blood glucose should be screened every three years, beginning at age 45.
The leading cause of cancer death is lung cancer followed by prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. The chance that a man will develop lung cancer in his life is 1 in 16. The risk is higher for smokers.
Not smoking is the best way to prevent lung cancer. Radon, a gas that can seep through the foundation of a building, can also cause cancer. Lower your risk by having buildings tested and treated for radon.
Talk with your doctor about prostate cancer at age 40, or earlier if you have a family history of it. Some of the other risk factors are obesity, smoking, prostatitis and sexually transmitted disease.
Colorectal screenings should be done at age 50 or earlier if you have a family history. The most common screening procedure is the colonoscopy. Other risk factors are a history of inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, heavy alcohol use, smoking and Type 2 diabetes.
Screenings can help detect different cancers. Some factors that can help prevent cancer are a healthy diet, regular exercise and optimal body weight. Eat a diet full of antioxidants, fruits and vegetables. Exercise at least 30 minutes for most days if not all days of the week. Talk with a professional about what is considered optimal body weight.
The leading cause of fatal accidents among men is motor vehicle crashes, according to the CDC. Reduce fatalities by: making sure the vehicle is working properly, wearing a seat belt, avoiding speeding or aggressive driving, and don't drive impaired or under the influence of a substance.
Making a few lifestyle changes can make a big difference in the future. Start today, little by little. If you have not had a physical in some time pick up the phone and schedule an appointment with your doctor. To learn more about men's health, come join Civilian Health Promotion Services for a class on Men's Health. As the Spanish proverb goes, "A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools."
CHPS will help you discover the most common health risks that affect men and how you can prevent and treat them. Take charge of your health, and come learn tips on how you can live a longer and healthier life. The class will be held on Wednesday, June 15, from 11 a.m. to noon in the Warrior Fitness Center, Health and Wellness Center classroom. To sign up or receive more information, contact Jennifer Sedgwick at (801) 586-9586.