Dr. Matthew Kaiser
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According to the CDC, 13 percent of men aged 18 and over are in good health and die with a higher percentage of women than the three leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer and involuntary injuries.
June is the month of men’s health and the focus on men’s health is important for him and for the overall health of the whole family. I have many patients of a certain generation who are reluctant to come in and talk about what can hurt them. Loved ones sometimes need to encourage men in their lives to come in and talk about their health.
For starters, men should receive regular checkups to detect problems early. Screenings are medical tests that doctors use to check for illnesses and health conditions before signs or symptoms. Depending on your age and medical history, you may be tested for certain cancers, hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases, and mental conditions such as depression.
Leading a healthy lifestyle for the heart is the most important step a man can take to ensure good health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men in the United States, and in 2019 it caused nearly one in four deaths in men. Unfortunately, heart disease can go undiagnosed until the man experiences signs or symptoms of heart attack, arrhythmia (heart palpitations) or heart failure.
The main risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, diabetes, overweight or obesity, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity and excessive use of alcohol.
To reduce your chances of getting heart disease, it’s important to do the following:
High blood pressure has no symptoms, so it is important to check it regularly. High cholesterol also has no signs or symptoms, so the only way to know if you have it is to get tested. If you have one of the two, there are effective treatment options.
Eat well. Maintain a healthy diet, emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low levels of added sugar, sodium, saturated and trans fats and cholesterol. Try lettuce instead of french fries and drink water instead of sweetened soda.
Move. Thirty minutes a day, five times a week, moderate exercise will help maintain a healthy weight and improve mood and heart health. If you are new to exercise, start with short walks or light-intensity activities and gradually grow to longer walks or more moderate or vigorous exercise.
Stop smoking and limit alcohol intake up to one drink per day.
Get a good night’s rest. Сънят е от съществено значение за доброто здраве; повечето възрастни се нуждаят от между седем и девет часа на нощ. The quality of your sleep is just as important. If you have insomnia, restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea (shortness of breath while snoring), talk to your doctor.
Reduce stress levels and find meaningful ways to deal with stress. Life can get tough; discussing things with a mental health professional can help.
Men, this month is the perfect time to visit your doctor and focus on early detection and treatment of any health condition. If you haven’t seen your doctor recently due to a pandemic or other reason, pick up the phone and make an appointment today.
Dr. Matthew Kaiser is a family physician at PeaceHealth Medical Group.PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Washington, is a non-profit Catholic health care system offering care to communities in Oregon, Washington and Alaska. For more ways to stay healthy: peacehealth.org/healthy-you.