Men, are you aware of the significant health hazards that could affect you? Educating yourself on these dangers and taking necessary precautions to minimize your risk is crucial. By doing so, you are taking a significant step towards maintaining good health.
It’s essential to start with a plan for maintaining good health, even if you feel healthy. Planning is always beneficial, especially for men, who generally have a shorter lifespan than women. Women tend to live longer than men in the United States, with an average lifespan of 80 to 83 years. In contrast, the typical lifespan for American men ranges from 75 to 78 years, which may vary based on their geographical location.
Annual visits to your doctor regularly can help maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you have been experiencing symptoms such as unexplained pain, discovering a lump, or changes in your skin, it is crucial not to ignore them and make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Taking care of your health should be a top priority, so schedule that appointment today.
Awareness of potential health hazards and making necessary lifestyle adjustments can significantly reduce your chances of experiencing these significant health risks.
Fortunately, there are methods to decrease the likelihood of developing diseases with higher mortality rates among men. Although biological gender is beyond your control, taking specific steps can help prevent or reduce the risk of the top five major causes of death in men. Changing your diet or lifestyle can improve your overall health and increase your longevity. Here’s how to start:
1. Heart Disease
Heart disease refers to a range of health conditions that affect the heart, including heart failure, coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, angina, heart infections, irregularities, and birth defects. The American Heart Association estimates that one in three men in their lifetime will be diagnosed with some form of heart disease. The leading cause of heart attacks in men is coronary heart disease. This happens when the arteries leading to the heart become narrow and hard, which reduces blood flow and affects the heart’s ability to function properly.
How to prevent it:
- Do not smoke or use tobacco. This is associated with a higher risk of heart disease
- Have blood lipids checked yearly. This includes total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL or “good” cholesterol, and LDL or “bad” cholesterol
- Have regular checks of blood pressure
- Achieve and sustain a healthy weight for your body · Follow a Mediterranean-style eating plan. Make sure to include in your diet plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, and other foods high in fiber and low in artery-clogging saturated and trans fats.
- Have a consistent, regular exercise program at least 5 days a week for 30 minutes focusing on cardiovascular health along with weight and strength training.
The five most common cancers affecting men are prostate cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, and melanoma. To stay protected against cancer, prevention is key. Men can take an active role in reducing their risk by scheduling a yearly physical and being aware of their family’s cancer history.
How to prevent it:
- Not smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke
- Reduce exposure as much as possible to air pollution and chemicals at work or home
- Eat cancer-fighting foods of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds
- Be physically active
- Limit alcohol use to no more than two drinks a day. Higher alcohol consumption has been associated with a higher incidence of colon and lung cancer
- Wear sunscreen every day and do a self-body check of your skin each month to spot any changes
- Get regular cancer screening tests including colonoscopy, prostate exams, and skin cancer
3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), also referred to as chronic lower respiratory disease, is the third most common cause of premature death in males. This condition encompasses chronic bronchitis and emphysema. To prevent COPD, men need to avoid smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipes and exposure to secondhand smoke. Factors such as airborne pollution, including radon, asbestos, and car exhaust, may contribute to chronic lower respiratory diseases.
How to prevent it:
- Refrain from smoking and if you do, quit
- Avoid secondhand smoke
- Avoid exposure to airborne pollutants as much as possible including dust and chemical fumes
Many middle-aged men tend to overlook the possibility of having a stroke. However, strokes can occur at any age, and men over 65 are at a greater risk. Additionally, strokes in men are more likely to be fatal and occur earlier in life than in women. A stroke occurs when an area of the brain doesn’t receive adequate blood flow, which results in brain cells dying due to oxygen deprivation. The location of the stroke in the brain determines the severity of the damage, which can cause significant impairment in brain function, including loss of muscle control and memory.
How to prevent it:
- At least annually, blood pressure should be checked. If it’s high, there are treatments available that to reduce your risk of having a stroke or developing heart disease. Additionally, reducing your sodium intake can be helpful in managing high blood pressure.
- If a man has diabetes, he needs to keep his blood glucose levels in control
- Never take up smoking or ask your doctor how to quit
- Consume no more than 2 drinks of alcohol in one day
- Exercise most days of the week and eat a healthy diet low in saturated fats
5. Type 2 diabetes
Many individuals with type 2 diabetes have had the condition for a while before being diagnosed. In men, symptoms such as erectile dysfunction or tingling and numbness in the legs or feet may have been indicators of the disease. Diabetes is a chronic illness that hinders the body’s ability to utilize glucose from food as energy. Instead, glucose can accumulate in the bloodstream, leading to various health complications, including kidney failure, heart problems, and vision loss.
How to prevent it:
- Reach and maintain a healthy body weight · Ask physician to check his hemoglobin A1C. This is a simple blood test showing the average blood sugar or glucose over the last 2 to 3 months. · Follow a carbohydrate controlled meal plan recommended by a registered dietitian
- Get in a least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise to help use up excess glucose and for weight control
- Reduce stress by having a plan when stress strikes – meditate, go for a walk, take deep breaths or practice stretching using yoga or Pilates moves
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.