Men’s health matters: This is the theme of International Men’s Health Week. During this time, men are encouraged to make the time and take the time to take practical steps to add a positive effect on their health and the health of young men they have in their lives.
Encouraging men to take care of their health is particularly important as men are statistically more likely to die from all the leading causes of death than women. As well as this, men, on average, die up to four years younger than women do.
I know that all of this may seem like troubling news. However, you can take measures to improve your health and decrease the chances of developing illness. Below are some suggestions on what you can do to step into a healthier body and life right now.
The top two leading health issues in men worldwide are heart disease and cancer.
On average, men develop heart disease 10-15 years prior to women. There exist many heart diseases, with coronary heart disease being one of the more common heart related illnesses, a disease where the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed from plaque buildup.
All heart diseases can lead to heart attack.
Before we talk about preventing heart attack, recognizing the symptoms of a heart attack earlier can mean the difference between life and death. Cardiologist Stephen Pope, M.D. says the acronym STOP can help you remember the most important signs of a heart attack:
S – Shortness of breath
T – Tightness of the chest, or pressure – feels like an elephant sitting on the chest
O – Other symptoms such as cold sweats, weakness or fatigue, heart palpitations, dizziness or even loss of consciousness
P – Pain in the chest, throat, neck, jaw, arms or back
What can I do to keep heart disease at bay?
Many conditions can cause complications with the heart, such as high cholesterol and diabetes.
In short, maintaining a healthy diet that’s low in sugar and saturated fat and high in fiber, exercising regularly, and having a healthy weight will affect your heart health positively.
Your heart will also thank you if you don’t smoke and drink alcohol in moderation.
If you have diabetes you should keep your blood sugar in check and at a healthy level.
What does a healthy diet look like?
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 5% of your overall calories in saturated fat per day. Fat has 9 calories per gram, so you consume an average of 2,000 calories per day you should eat no more than 100 calories, or 11 grams of saturated fat in that day.
Also according to the American Health Association, 30 grams is the healthy daily limit for sugar.
How often should I exercise?
While going to the gym is a plus, many of us don’t have time. If you’re not an avid gym-goer like me, a 20-minute brisk walk 5 times a week is enough to increase the health of your heart and brain.
One of the most common cancers in men is testicular cancer. Just like with heart attack, catching the signs and symptoms earlier can help you beat it.
Testicular cancer occurs more often in young men between the ages of 20 and 54. The signs and symptoms of testicular cancer include:
- Lumps in or swelling of either testicle
- A heaviness in the scrotum
- A dull ahce in the lower abdomen
- Back pain
Some preventative measures you can take are:
- Having regular preventative health screenings
- Quitting smoking and avoid second hand smoke and other tobacco products
- Eating a healthy, varied diet rich in fruits and vegetables
As well as taking preventative measures, regular self-examination is important.
To examine yourself, hold your testicle between your thumbs and fingers with both hands and roll it gently between your fingers. Look and feel for any hard lumps or nodules or any change in the size, shape, or consistency of your testicles.
As International Men’s Health Week comes to a close, make sure that your healthy habits don’t! Maintaining a healthy lifestyle won’t just save your life, but it’ll also improve it!
Testicular cancer detection:
Spot a heart attack:
Men's health forum: