his month we’re raising awareness for men’s health. Show support by wearing blue during Men’s Health Week June 14-20 and all month long! Men are often thought of as strong, but realistically, they are equally as vulnerable as women. The fact is that everybody needs to take care of their health. Social stereotypes may have conditioned men into believing that they will be fine avoiding the doctor — that they can just buck up — resulting in stubbornness, but stereotypes aside, men need to be educated on their health and encouraged to take action.
Men are notoriously reluctant to visit their doctor. Statistically, women visit their doctor twice as often as men. This goes without saying, but your health is important! Visiting your doctor for regular check-ups is essential to maintaining good health. Whether you feel like you’re in tip-top shape or not, a yearly physical can put your mind at ease and it can be crucial to catching small problems before they get bigger.
Don’t be stubborn. Give your doctor a call if you don’t feel like yourself.
When you visit your doctor, be sure to share your family history with them. This could be important when taking preventative measures. If you know that something like diabetes or cancer runs in your family, let your doctor know so that they can guide you in making healthy choices that will possibly extend your life.
As you age, it becomes even more important to keep a close eye on your health. You might think that aches and pains come naturally with age, and maybe they do, but listening to your body will help you determine if it needs help. Think about it like caring for your car. The more miles you put on it, the more it requires regular maintenance. Your doctor will help you stay in good shape, so go regularly and get the tune-up you need to keep those miles coming.
There are various recommended screenings for men over 65 such as blood pressure and colorectal cancer. It is recommended to get a screening earlier if you are at a higher risk. This can be determined by your doctor when they monitor your health over time through regular check-ups as well as your family history.
Exercise and Nutrition
Your behaviors today can give you many more tomorrows, so how active are you? It’s easy to get caught up in the routine of work-eat-rinse-repeat. Be sure to make time for exercise. That could mean 30 minutes of exercise per day or a full hour at the gym several times a week. Do what works for you and your schedule. Regular exercise has proven to lower the risk of serious health problems such as stroke, heart disease, and certain cancers.
If you find it difficult to fit fitness into your daily routine, try a few adjustments to get your steps in. This could mean biking to work or even walking if you live close enough. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a walk on your lunch break or, if you’re not shy, maybe a few push-ups at your desk. A little adjustment here and there will benefit you in the long run.
Nutrition goes hand in hand with exercise, so what are you putting in your body? We’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat,” and it's true. If you eat foods that are good for you, you’ll likely feel better than if you don’t. Sure, a piece of cake might be satisfying to your taste buds, but the sugar in that cake is going to literally weigh you down as the pounds add on! Nutrition is all about educating yourself on what you’re ingesting, consciously choosing healthier foods.
When you visit the grocery store, get into the habit of reading labels. Avoid processed and sugary foods. Fill your cart with vibrant fruits and vegetables. Go for whole-grain breads and pastas. Limit your consumption of red meat. Beans and nuts are a great source of protein! Make sure that your food is low in sodium. Lastly, be conscious about your portion sizes. Overeating can become an unhealthy habit fast.
Common Health Problems
Get ahead of the problem
As we center our discussion on Men’s Health, we should touch on common health problems that men face. According to Healthline, more than one in three adults have heart disease, each year more men are diagnosed with lung cancer, and high consumption of alcohol leads to severe damage to the mouth, throat, liver, and colon.
The takeaway from these health facts is that our bodies are complicated vessels, and the best way to take care of them is by learning as much as we can about them. Education is key to taking preventative action.
There has been a stigma surrounding mental health, especially in men, for too long. Social roles may have inhibited men from thinking that it’s okay to talk about their feelings and to be vulnerable. An estimated 6 million men suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts according to the article mentioned above. This is too many to ignore. Let’s erase the stigma and save lives by creating a safe and open space to talk about mental health.
If someone you know is struggling with a mental health problem, reach out. Be a shoulder to lean on for someone in need, and don’t hesitate to call emergency services if you suspect they might harm themselves.
If you are struggling yourself, try to release yourself from that hold by exercising, journaling, and talking to those close to you, and most importantly, seek professional help. There is absolutely no shame in having depression or anxiety.
Know Your Anatomy
It would be remiss not to talk about the male sex organs.
Located between the bladder and the rectum, the prostate is part of the system that gets the sperm to where it needs to go by creating a fluid. The prostate naturally becomes greater in size as men age, which may cause issues with urination. This typically occurs between ages 40 to 50, making this the optimal time to have your prostate examined by your doctor. It’s important to identify any irregularities as early as possible as prostate cancer is the second deadliest cancer for men, second only to skin cancer.
Testicular cancer is commonly found in men from ages 15 to 35. This external sex organ is responsible for sperm and hormones including testosterone. It’s important for men to familiarize themselves with this part of the body so that, when performing a self-exam, they can identify abnormalities. Men should perform self-exams every few months and talk to a doctor if any issues arise. Tips for performing a self-exam can be found at BetterHelp.
Lastly, is your penis telling you something? A common health problem for men is erectile dysfunction. Things that have been found to contribute to ED are dehydration, stress, obesity, tobacco and alcohol use, and lack of testosterone. ED can be the result of a bigger problem such as high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and anxiety. It’s important to consult your doctor to pinpoint the issue and how to treat it properly.
A few ways to avoid erectile dysfunction include: stay hydrated; eat a balanced diet; exercise; maintaining a healthy weight; and deep-breathing and meditation. Overall, a healthy lifestyle will improve your quality of life in all facets.
Hey guys, it’s time to nurture your body. Let go of masculine stereotypes that are keeping you from realizing that good health is what makes you strong. Breaking out of your discomfort to seek the help you need is strength in itself and smart, too. Open up a conversation with the men in your life about men’s health. That conversation could be life-saving.