Men, on average, have shorter life spans than women.
In fact, men die five years younger than women, and die at higher rates from nine of the top 10 causes of death. That wasn’t always the case, though. A century ago, men lived longer than women by an average of one year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC states that now nearly 15% of men aged 18 and over are in fair or poor health. Health issues, many which are preventable, don’t just impact men personally, but can impact their ability to be healthy partners, involved fathers and engaged community members.
Make A Yearly Wellness Appointment
Men don’t visit the doctor as regularly as women.
Regular checkups and age-appropriate screenings can improve your health and reduce the risk of premature death.
Men’s health screening checklist includes:
- Blood pressure
- Body fat
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Complete blood count (CBC)
Men over the age of 40 or who have a family history of prostate cancer should get a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) screening yearly. PSA is produced by the prostate. Levels rise when there is an abnormality such as an infection, enlargement or cancer.
These screenings can be part of your annual wellness visit or part of your yearly physical with your primary care provider (PCP).
Regular exercise is critical to healthy living for men, women and children.
“I’m tired, though,” you may say.
You don’t have to run a marathon to get exercise. Aim to get in just ten minutes, three times a day to start out. Take a quick 10-minute walk before you leave for work. If you have a dog, take him/her for a walk. At lunch, walk another 10 minutes around your office’s block or neighborhood. When you get home, log 10 more minute. There, you have it. Thirty minutes a day, and you are already on the road to better health.
The more you walk, the more you will raise your heart rate. That can help your overall health and help to lower body fat, improve cholesterol, boost metabolism and curb depression and anxiety.
You are what you eat
Eating a diet that includes heart-healthy fruits and vegetables and limits saturated fat, added sugars, and extra salt helps you have more energy to walk 30 minutes and more a day.
- Fruits: Choose fresh, frozen or canned fruits daily. Be aware that dried and canned fruit may contain added sugars or syrups. Choose canned varieties of fruit packed in water or in its own juice.
- Vegetables: Make it a goal to try a new vegetable each week. Add herbs like rosemary to grilled or steamed vegetables. If you can’t have fresh vegetables, frozen or canned ones without added salt, butter or sauces are better than no vegetables at all.
- Calcium-rich foods: Eat low-fat and fat-free yogurts without added sugars to get calcium and substitute these for high-calorie desserts.
- Meats: Say “yes” to bake or grill lean meats, “no” to fried or breaded meats. Eliminate meat once or twice a week and replace with dry beans for protein.
Mental health plays a role in overall well being.
Many men think they can’t express their feelings. They may feel depressed or anxious, but unsure what to do about it. We all feel sad once in a while. But if you have prolonged depression, anxiety or other problems that you are ignoring or minimizing, you may need to talk to someone. And that’s okay. Seeing a behavioral health specialist may help you feel a lot better.
Make an appointment
If you haven’t seen your primary care provider in a while, make an appointment today. If you need help finding a doctor, we can help or call the number on the back of your member ID card.