Men’s Health Month – Count On Us Men
By Dr. JUSTIN GREEN
It is probably not surprising that there are notable differences in the health of men compared to women. But when we take a closer look at the statistics describing this health disparity, it may be quite alarming. For example, the average life expectancy of men is about five years less than that of women, and there has been a gradual increase in this gap over the years. Men are also twice as likely as women to die of a heart attack and much more likely to die of cancer. Not only that, but men are also less likely to seek treatment for mental health issues, becoming four times more likely than women to commit suicide.
Although these facts may seem dismal, they are mainly due to one reason: women tend to prioritize their health more than men by taking proactive steps to stay healthy. In fact, compared to women, men take about half as many doctor’s appointments for preventive care and screenings. But it is important to remember that men’s health is not just a ‘men’s business’. It’s a family problem and can impact everyone around them, including their spouses, partners, mothers, daughters and sisters.
That’s why Men’s Health Month is observed nationally every June. It’s a great opportunity for men to reevaluate their well-being and regain control of their health. It is also a designated time for healthcare providers across the country to administer health screenings, share education and participate in community outreach activities that raise awareness of the unique health issues that affect men and boys.
To celebrate Men’s Health Month, here are some easy ways for men to start improving their well-being and achieve a better quality of life.
To go to the doctor:
It may sound simple, but when you feel sick – and even when you don’t feel sick – it’s important to go to the doctor. Have regular appointments with your primary care provider can not only help build trust, but also help you stay on top of your health and identify problems before they become serious. Commit to your health again this month by schedule an annual checkup or appointment to address a specific health issue you may have ignorant. Ask specific questions about your health, such as “Do I need to do a blood sugar test to Diabetes?” “Is it time for me to get screened for colon cancer?” “Am I up to date on vaccinations that can reduce my risk of diseases like shingles? » Your annual report is the perfect opportunity to make sure you and your supplier are doing everything you can to stay on the way to good health.
Keeping a variety of healthy foods in your daily intake will help ensure that you are get the nutrients your body needs, including vitamins, minerals, fiber and lean protein.
Use vegetables and fruits as your main sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber, and concentrate on lean proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, Greek yogurt, beans and lentils. Limit food and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat and alcohol, and focus more on foods that provide good nutrition and a large number of vitamins.
Physical activity is one of the most effective ways to improve or maintain good physical and mental health. Regular exercise can help you achieve a healthy weight; reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers; increase your bones and muscles strength; and improve your mood while decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety. Exercise can also take many forms, so find what works best for you – whether it’s walking, jogging, lifting, fitness classes or a local intramural sports league. Make sure and talk to your healthcare professional before starting a new exercise routine.
Get enough rest:
When your body gets the sleep it needs, your immune system is able to recharge and prepare to combat any seasonal illnesses that may befall you. Healthy sleep hygiene can also help lead to better weight management, improved mood and even increased productivity. Stay going to bed late and not getting enough sleep can contribute to common heart health issues, such as high blood pressure and heart attacks. Just like your immune system, your heart needs rest time to function powerfully and properly.
Reduce your stress:
Statistics show that men have a harder time dealing with stress than women. This perhaps because women find more support in their social networks and tend to confide in them, while the male mindset may tend to shy away from mental health discussions and are less likely to disclose problems to family, friends or even their doctor. Stress itself has also been linked to high blood pressure and high body weight, so it is essential important to prioritize anti-stress activities and exercises.
There’s no better time to start improving your health and well-being. So, don’t forget to eat well, exercise often, get enough rest and reduce stress. Above all, do not forget to program your annual wellness check-up or an appointment to resolve any issues you may have and ask questions about the various health examinations.
Others rely on you.
For more information on men’s health issues and Men’s Health Month, go to www.menshealthmonth.org.
For more information about Los Alamos Medical Center and the services it provides to men in this community, call 505.662.4201 or visit www.losalamosmedicalcenter.net to be connected with the care you need.
Editor’s Note: Dr. Green grew up in Los Alamos and graduated in 1980 from Los Alamos High School. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M and an MBA from the University of North Dakota. He received his combined MD/PhD from the University of Kansas. He is a surgeon with Los Alamos Surgical Associates on the 2nd floor of the Los Alamos Medical Center.