Submitted by Carol Tomlinson RN BS
Community Health Educator
WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT MEN’S HEALTH
Eubie Blake once said, “If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”
How true that is for most of us. It seems to be especially true of older men, who once were so busy working and playing hard that the thought of getting medical advice, or even of doing things in moderation, was never on their radar screen.
According to the Hope Heart Institute, today we know the following things about men’s health:
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American men.
- The 3 biggest cancer killers of men in the U.S. over age 55 are …
1. Lung cancer
2. Prostate cancer
3. Colorectal cancer
Prevention and early detection are still the best ways of beating these formidable opponents, according to the National Institute of Health. Many of the prevention strategies are the same for all of these diseases, they include but are certainly not limited to:
- Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke
- Keep a healthy weight
- Eat less red and/or processed meats
- Eat less fat…only about 1/3 of your daily calories should come from fat
- Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day
- Exercise about 30 minutes most days of the week
- Learn how to manage stress
For heart disease prevention, you should also keep your blood pressure below 120/80 and make sure you get it checked at least every two years. Men also need to have their cholesterol levels checked and keep their levels within the guidelines for their particular circumstances. Most men should have a total cholesterol level below 200 and their HDL (good cholesterol) should be a minimum of 40. Men who have a history of heart disease in their families, or who have experienced a cardiac problem, will need to keep within even stricter parameters.
Cancer prevention and early intervention are also crucial to men’s health and longevity. Both men and women need to have a personal physician and regular checkups as we grow older. In addition to the general guidelines above, men also need to ask their doctors when they should start being checked for prostate and colorectal cancer. This is especially true if there is any history of these conditions in the family.
It is important for men to take charge of their health! Remember that you are the boss. Your doctor works for you. Find a physician who really listens to you. Take a list of questions to every medical exam and make sure you have them answered before you leave. Ask for copies of lab tests for your home medical file. Learn all you can about any medical conditions that your doctor has identified for you.
For more information on men’s health, contact your health care provider or call HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120. You can e-mail us at email@example.com, see our website at www.nlh.org, or visit our wellness center at 213 Harrison Street Ext. in Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.