June 14, 2021
June 14-20th is Men’s Health Week which is designed to create health policies and services that bring awareness to health conditions that impact men, boys and their families. It’s no secret that men are known for avoiding the doctor or only visiting when persuaded heavily by a family member or close friend. In a study done by the Cleveland Clinic, 72% of men would rather do household chores such as cleaning and yard work than go to the doctor!
Tip #1- Schedule your regular appointments
It’s a simple tip, schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor. While this tip applies to everyone, it has been found that men are less likely to schedule routine appointments either because it’s not convenient, they feel perfectly fine, or they don’t want to know if something is wrong. Yearly check-ups, even if you are well, are considered preventative care and could alert you to a potential health risk that can be caught before it turns into a major issue. With a new focus on personal and community health as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, now is a great time to schedule your appointments and check in on your own health.
Tip #2- Ask your doctor about cancer screenings
Whether we like it or not, we all know someone either directly or indirectly that has had cancer or passed away from cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in men, beat out only by skin cancer. 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. In addition to this, prostate cancer is more likely in older men and non-Hispanic black men. Men should start screenings for prostate cancer after the age of 40. To learn more about prostate cancer and the risks, visit the American Cancer Society page and talk to your doctor about scheduling a screening.
Tip #3- Mental Health is important
Everyone knows that mental health comes with a stigma in general, but this is especially true for men. Having feelings or showing emotions isn’t considered “manly”. Suffering from a mental health issue can be perceived as making men weak, vulnerable, or less of a man. Despite the stigma associated with men and mental health, discussing emotions and feelings, whether with a family member, friend, or professional can greatly increase mental health. When mental health improves, physical health typically improves as well. If you are finding the need to talk with a professional, call 203-756-8021 Ext. 3529 to speak with a behavioral health professional today.
Tip #4- Know your health risks.
There are health conditions that affect both men and women, but some conditions have a higher risk of affecting men more than women such as kidney stones, gout, certain cancers, and Parkinson’s Disease. It’s also important to understand that a family history of certain conditions can also put you at greater risk for developing those conditions. Other factors like smoking, excessive drinking, poor diet, and lack of exercise can also increase your risk. Talk to your doctor about what your risks are and what you can do to lower your them. To learn more about why certain conditions effect men, check out this Hackensack Meridian Health article.
Tip #5- Healthy diet and exercise
Remember when you were a kid and your parents used to tell you to eat more vegetables? They were right. Vegetables provide a range of vitamins and dietary fiber which our bodies need to stay healthy. Diets that are rich in potassium can help to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. A healthy diet in combination with exercise can go a long way to a persons overall health. The Center for Disease control (CDC) recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activities which includes biking, swimming, and walking. They also recommend 2 days per week of muscle-strengthening activities such as weight lifting. So get out there and start exercising!
Tip #6- Stop unhealthy habits like smoking and excessive drinking
When we think of unhealthy habits we often think about eating the wrong foods or not exercising enough but there are other habits such as smoking and excessive drinking that can impact your health as well. According to the CDC, smoking can cause heart disease, stroke, diabetes, lung cancer, as well as emphysema and other respiratory issues. In addition to health risks to an individual who smokes, secondhand smoke can also be unhealthy for family members and pets living in and routinely visiting a home with smokers. Excessive drinking can also have an impact on liver function and increase the risk of breast cancer and heart disease within men.
Tip #7- Managing stress
Stress is something that is pretty much unavoidable in today’s world and can have a negative impact on your health. Too much stress can lead to headaches, trouble sleeping, aches and pains, and if stress is prolonged, it can weaken your immune system making you more susceptible to viruses. Regular exercise, playing sports, spending time with friends, and finding quiet moments are great ways to help reduce stress and stay healthy. To learn more about managing stress, click here.
Tip #8- Find balance in your life
Balancing work, family, friends, and hobbies can get overwhelming and at times one task or event might consume us more than another. It’s important to take a step back and prioritize what is most important in that moment. Sometimes it might be finishing a deadline at work and other times it might be spending quality time with family and friends or getting out and doing some fishing in the peace and quiet. Finding a healthy balance of all your activities and priorities can help keep you organized and lower your stress levels.
Taking care of your health can be easy with the right knowledge, and we hope that these eight tips make it a little easier!
The StayWell Health Center Team