Men’s Health Month: Lower Your Risk
Many of the most serious health issues affecting men are preventable. Each year in June, the nation celebrates Men’s Health Month, a 30-day span dedicated to raising awareness and encouraging discussions about health issues impacting men and boys.
While not all health issues affecting men are avoidable, there are many lifestyle changes men can make that may lower their risk of developing heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and other serious health concerns. Here are a few ways men can work to lower their risk of the following health conditions.
Heart disease has become the leading killer of men in America, causing about 25% of all deaths among males. While having regular checkups and screenings gives men vital information about their risk of developing heart disease, making certain lifestyle changes can also lower risks. Here are some easy ways men can improve their overall heart health and reduce their odds of developing heart disease.
Eat a heart-healthy diet
Some foods are better for heart health than others. Incorporating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and healthy fats is an easy way to reduce the negative effects caused by consuming salt, sugar, alcohol and processed carbohydrates, and it helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, too.
Get more exercise
It’s no secret that exercise is good for heart health. Most medical professionals advise men to get between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise each day to help lower their risk of heart disease.
Get enough shuteye
Getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night is ideal for helping reduce the risk of heart disease. While a lack of sleep may lead to heart problems, it also raises the risk of obesity, depression and diabetes.
Have regular screenings
Heart scans offer critical information about a patient’s risk of developing heart disease. These screenings are noninvasive and typically take only about 10 minutes to complete.
Research shows that more than half, or 51.9%, of American men over 20 have hypertension, or high blood pressure. While some men with high blood pressure may need medication, many can keep their blood pressure down by making the following lifestyle changes.
• Dropping pounds and eating healthy
• Cutting back on salt and alcohol
• Quitting smoking
• Getting regular exercise
• Getting enough sleep
• Reducing stress levels
While having regular checkups to monitor blood pressure is important, many men may also benefit from checking their blood pressure levels at home.
Research shows that more than 40% of American men are currently obese, which exposes them to a range of associated health issues. Taking the following steps helps reduce obesity levels, and in doing so, helps reduce obesity-related health risks.
• Eating healthier
• Managing stress
• Getting enough sleep
• Getting enough exercise
While lifestyle factors impact obesity levels, so, too, does family history, socioeconomic status and metabolism, among other variables.
Smoking & Alcohol Use
When men use alcohol and tobacco, it has the potential to impact many aspects of their health. Also, many people who smoke also use alcohol and vice-versa, which can compound health risks even more. While the use of alcohol and tobacco raises the risk of heart disease, it can also lead to a wide range of other health issues, including lung disease and cancer.
Studies show that men are less likely than women to see their doctors regularly for checkup and health screenings. Yet, a man’s chance of developing heart disease, cancer and other serious health issues increases with age, highlighting just how vital it is for men and boys to have regular checkups and screenings, make necessary lifestyle changes and otherwise put their health first.