Men are more likely than women to forgo doctor visits and preventive screenings, ignore symptoms of illness and delay needed care, according to the American Cancer Society. One out of every three men doesn’t even have a primary care doctor. Luckily, with early screening, most diseases that affect men may be successfully treated–but the time to take action is now. Below, check out what you or the man in your life can do to be healthier.
- Get checked for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and affects about 1 in 6 American men. the American Cancer Society recommends asking your doctor about screenings after age 50, when the risk increases.
- Eat more tomatoes. Lycopene may reduce the risk of prostate cancer; it exists in tomatoes, so the Mayo Clinic recommends finding more ways to incorporate tomatoes into your diet.
- Regularly perform testicular self-exams. Not only should you see your doctor for routine physicals, but you should also do self-checks for lumps and nodules.
- Limit alcoholic beverages. The CDC reports that men are three times more likely than women to become alcoholics. Limit alcoholic beverages to two drinks per day.
- Depressed? Get help. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women are. If you’re feeling depressed, seek out the services of a counselor.
- Snoring could be a serious problem. Men are twice as likely as women to have sleep apnea (blocked air flow), which can lead to clogged arteries, says Harvard Medical School. If you’re snoring regularly, tell your doctor.
- Go for a 40-inch waistline, max. Excess abdominal fat could lead to diabetes, stroke, or other diseases.
- Snuff out your smoking habit. Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in men, according to the CDC.
- Have healthy eating habits. Try to cut back on saturated fats, trans fats, and simple carbohydrates; this can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease or diabetes. Instead, incorporate more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy items into your diet.
- Work out. Not only can exercise help improve blood sugar levels and heart health, it can also act as a natural antidepressant.
Men, you don’t need to be shy or scared about going to the doctor or changing some of your eating and fitness habits. If you don’t have a doctor, find out if your employee benefits package includes an advocacy service that can help you. Health Advocate can help you find a doctor that meets your needs. Also check into whether your employee benefits package includes any type of nutritional or wellness advice or education; Health Advocate’s Wellness Coach can help its members get the health and wellness information they need.
While doing these things may feel a little stressful or annoying at times, remember that following these guidelines can result in the improvement of your health or, in the case of early detection of a disease such as cancer, potentially saving your life.