Three areas men can focus on for better overall health
When it comes to good health and longevity, men aren’t fairing as well as women. In fact, according to health.gov men die, on average, five years younger than women. They also die at higher rates of heart disease, most cancers and even suicide.
Many factors contribute to these alarming statistics. Hormonal and physiological differences between men and women certainly play a role, as do lifestyle and career choices. In addition, men are less likely to prioritize a healthy lifestyle or seek medical attention. The good news is – in many cases minor changes in a man’s habits can have a profound and positive impact on his health. Men should consider more focus on these three areas:
Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of all Americans, men and women alike. However, men die at younger ages from this disease. To begin combating this killer, men should:
Incorporate healthier foods into their diets, filling at least half of every plate with fruits and vegetables.
Exercise. Just 30 minutes of exercise, especially aerobic exercise, a day will help improve heart health. If you don’t have time for daily exercise, two or three longer workouts a week may also work well.
Schedule regular preventive care appointments with a primary care physician to stay up to date on heart health indicators, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Men have higher rates of most cancers. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men – though most prostate cancer in elderly men is not their cause of death. Most primary care providers do not recommend prostate cancer screening for all men due to the potential morbidity of prostate cancer treatment. Prostate cancer screening should be considered when men have increasing difficulty urinating, a substantial family history of prostate cancer or if they are African American, as African Americans have a substantially higher incidence of prostate cancer.
Cancer isn’t the only prostate concern that can be addressed by a doctor. Enlarged prostate, while not cancerous, can cause a man much inconvenience and lost sleep. It’s the most common prostate problem in men over age 50.
Meanwhile, prostatitis is the most common prostate problem in men under age 50. It is an inflammation of the prostrate that can lead to a number of troubling symptoms, including fever, chills, painful urination or pressure behind the scrotum.
Men are three times more likely than women to die from suicide. Men make up 75 percent of suicide victims, which mental health experts are now referring to as ‘silent crisis’. Of course, the reasons behind any statistic are complex. However, we do know men are much less likely than women to seek care for mental health issues.
Good mental health is just as critical to a man’s well-being as any other kind of health. Men are encouraged to start a conversation with their doctor about good mental health practices, such as taking daily walks, talking out problems and practicing stress management techniques.
Health a Priority
The key to good health and longevity is to prioritize healthy habits and seek regular preventive appointments from your health care providers.
Dr. Messier graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in physics from the University of Massachusetts and his Doctorate in Medicine from Tufts School of Medicine. He went on to complete his residency at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington. Over the course of his career, he has earned several honors, including being inducted as Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and earning an award for outstanding patient care and resident teaching from Womack Army Hospital. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call St. Joseph Hospital Primary & Specialty Care at 603.883.7970.