8 Ways Men Can Be Proactive About Their Health
Posted: 6/20/2022 1:03 PM by
Attention men: this article is for you. Yes, you! Maybe your wife or loved one casually slipped it into your inbox or left a copy on the counter. Just know she did it out of love–she wants to remind you it’s time to be proactive about your health!
Men develop different health needs as they age. So why do they often skip regular checkups and ignore aches and pains? That’s a great question. While heart disease, hypertension, and high cholesterol get a lot of attention, there are many other health concerns that are specific to men and shouldn’t be ignored.
It’s time to take control of your health. Here are some tips to help you get started.
1: Find a primary care physician and see them regularly
Ok, we know you’ve heard this a million times. But it’s our number one tip for a reason. If you don’t regularly check in with a primary care physician (PCP), it can make things really tough when you suddenly have a life-threatening illness or issue. Put simply, primary care providers are your first source of defense in leading a healthy life.
Getting regular checkups from your PCP ensures that all your important numbers are in check including:
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol levels
- Hormone levels
When you see your PCP annually, your numbers are tracked year after year to see what trends might be occurring. Your annual check-up is also a good time to talk with your physician about any complaints are concerns you have noticed since your last visit. Your PCP plays a valuable role in your overall health, they and they can refer you to specialists when an issue is beyond their scope.
2: Don’t fall into the “medical gender gap”
The numbers speak for themselves here. According to the CDC, on average, men die about five years earlier than women. It’s important to listen to those who encourage you to take care of your health. Don’t brush off their concerns or any symptoms that appear suddenly or over time. Seeing your PCP regularly and staying attentive to your health is truly a matter of life and death.
3: Get back to the basics
You’ve heard this countless times, but it is crucial to get back to the basics. You can greatly improve your overall health if you:
- Quit smoking if you smoke
- Lose weight in a healthy manner
- Exercise consistently
- Know your numbers
Another benefit of having a PCP is that they can help you succeed in all of these areas. They want you to win and have the tools and resources to make it happen.
4: Watch your alcohol intake
Although it may be part of your routine to unwind at the end of the day, alcohol affects men differently than women. According to the CDC, men are more likely than women to drink excessively, which is associated with significant risks to men’s health and safety. And these risks increase with the amount of alcohol consumed. Men are also more likely than women to take other risks such as misusing other substances, having multiple sex partners, or not wearing a seat belt. When combined with alcohol, A man will further increase their risk of illness, injury or death. A good rule of thumb is two drinks or less per day.
5: Don’t ignore erectile dysfunction
What may seem like an unfortunate part of the aging process can sometimes lead to more than a less-than-stellar sex life. Erectile dysfunction can be a symptom of high blood pressure, diabetes, or other health issues. It all goes back to that relationship with your PCP–don’t be embarrassed to give them a call if you are concerned. They will check you out, and if underlying issues aren’t present, they can prescribe medication to help.
6: Prioritize your mental health as much as your physical health
Men are more than three times as likely to die by suicide than women. This is a very alarming fact. Referring to number 4 on our list above, men are also more likely to have been drinking prior to suicide.
It may be hard to check in on your mental status, but it’s crucial. While the stigma related to mental health disorders has decreased significantly in the past decade, men are still likely to fall prey to not seeking help with mental issues. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a loved one, a friend, or your PCP if you are experiencing anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts.
7: Get your regularly prostate exam and colonoscopy
Luckily, your trusty PCP will stay on top of you to make sure you get your prostate exam and colonoscopy. Prostate and colon cancer, like most cancers, are beatable if found early. Even though the exams can be uncomfortable, they can save your life. Don’t put off these routine screenings!
8: Reach out to an orthopedic specialist if you are having joint or spine pain
Maybe you’ve always had back issues, or maybe your knee just started locking up when you were working in the yard–whatever the issue, don’t put off seeing a specialist who can help. Your treatment may be as simple as a few visits to physical therapy or a new medication to relieve the pain. Sure, you may also need surgery to repair an old injury, but don’t let pain keep you out of the game!
Have we convinced you to take charge of your health? Do your loved ones a favor and follow these tips to make sure you are around for many years to come.