It’s sometimes jokingly said the number one health risk for men is procrastination. But there’s a bit of truth in the statement. Many men don’t make their health a priority and seeing a doctor when you’re well may not be top of mind.
June is Men’s Health Month and a perfect opportunity to take charge of your health with these wellness tips for every stage of life.
Men in their 20s don’t have many age-based health concerns. However, an attitude of invincibility can lead to habits and behaviors that are likely to create serious health problems down the road. Here are a few to watch out for.
- Drinking: Some of the highest rates of binge drinking are from university students in their twenties. Binge drinking, even as a young adult, can trigger heart disease later in life so drink responsibly.
- Skipping physical exams: Many young men don’t go to the doctor until they experience problems. Skipping routine check-ups can mean small problems go untreated until they become major and more difficult to treat. Check in with your primary care physician for regular physical exams.
- Poor diet: Males in their twenties typically have a fairly high metabolism, making them appear physically fit even though they may have a poor diet. Eating fast food and pizza and not getting enough fruits and vegetables can lead to health issues in the 30s so be sure to eat nutrient-rich foods.
30s to 40s
Men in their 30s and 40s should pay special attention to preventive care, especially when it comes to the heart. Habits formed in these years could put men at an increased risk for heart disease in the late 40s and early 50s.
- Cholesterol: Men over age 35 should have their cholesterol checked every five years. Cholesterol levels are closely related to risk of heart disease, and men over the age of 45 are at the highest risk.
- Stress: Career, finances and family obligations present opportunities for men to feel stress, increasing the risk of developing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, or even a heart attack. Protect your body and mind with regular exercise and coping skills to handle stressful situations.
- Blood Pressure: Have your blood pressure screened every three to five years until age 40, then have it checked every year. Because high blood pressure is symptomless, many men don’t know they have it.
Men 50 and older should pay special attention to their personal risk for different types of cancers. Family history and lifestyle choices have a significant impact on men’s risk for cancer. Consult with a primary care physician to determine risk levels and necessary screenings.
- Colon Cancer: Starting at age 50, men should get screened for colon cancer. More than 90% of colon cancers occur in people over age 50, and the cancer is far more treatable if caught early through a screening.
- Prostate: Men should get screened for prostate cancer beginning at age 50. Almost half of men aged 50 to 60 experience an enlarged prostate that may cause discomfort and could lead to cancer.
- Heart Health: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men age 45 to 54. Poor diet, stress and lack of exercise in younger years can turn into heart issues at this age, so assess your risk level with your physician and get screened for cholesterol, blood pressure and general cardiovascular health.
One of the most important steps you can take toward a healthier future is to link up with the right primary care physician. To get matched with a local physician who’s right for you, visit MyHealthKC.com. For answers to health questions 24/7, call AdventHealth NurseLine at 913-676-7777.