Top threats to men’s health
Understanding health risks is one thing but taking action to reduce the risks is another. For Men’s Health Week, the Chicago Dental Society is bringing articles and information to men and their loved ones to help raise awareness of preventable health problems.
The list of the greatest threats to men’s health is surprisingly short. Heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke are the biggest killer among men, according to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention. Here’s Mayo Clinic’s top lifestyle changes that can help men live longer:
- Don't smoke. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, ask your doctor to help you quit. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution and chemicals, such as those in the workplace.
- Eat a healthy diet. Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods and lean sources of protein, such as fish. Limit foods high in saturated fat and sodium.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Losing excess pounds — and keeping them off — can lower your risk of heart disease as well as various types of cancer.
- Get moving. Exercise can help you control your weight, lower your risk of heart disease and stroke and possibly lower your risk of certain types of cancer. Choose activities you enjoy, such as tennis, basketball or brisk walking. All physical activity benefits your health.
- Limit alcohol. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. That means up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger and one drink a day for men older than age 65. Examples of one drink include 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters) of beer, 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters) of wine or 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters) of standard 80-proof liquor. The risk of various types of cancer, such as liver cancer, appears to increase with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time you've been drinking regularly. Too much alcohol can also raise your blood pressure.
- Manage stress. If you feel constantly on edge or under pressure, your lifestyle habits may suffer — and so might your immune system. Take steps to reduce stress — or learn to deal with stress in healthy ways.
Regular doctor visits and safe driving habits – following the speed limit and wearing a seat belt – also add to life expectancy for men. Adopting a few common-sense lifestyle changes can have a big impact on men’s health.
Tomorrow: Men and oral health care.