Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and taking care of our emotional well being are all-important elements of living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining an optimal level of health. Medical experts and research has confirmed repeatedly that the lifestyle choices we make are crucial for healthy aging and preventing various diseases that can result in chronic health impairment or even premature death.
Prevention they say is better than cure and preventative health goes a step beyond just addressing health problems that arise but instead serves to alert us to potential health conditions that can lead to serious complications for us in the future. Early detection and monitoring for high-risk conditions is an essential element of good healthcare and this applies to both men and women.
But when it comes to healthcare, men tend to see doctors less and do not pay as much attention to their possible health concerns as women do.They can often go years between doctors’ visits and end up missing valuable opportunities for screening and detection of possible health issues
Here are some health concerns worth keeping on top of so that you don’t end up with unnecessary complications:
High Blood Pressure:
Men are just as prone to high blood pressure as women. High blood pressure is largely hereditary but can be influenced by environmental factors such as caffeine intake, intake of salt, and obesity. Unless the blood pressure is extremely high, you will have no symptoms and the blood pressure may be left unchecked and unnoticed. Depending on age it is advisable to have your blood pressure checked at regular intervals. I would advise asking your physician to suggest a suitable time interval for checking blood pressure and then try sticking with that.Blood pressure readings of 140/90 or greater would warrant a visit to your doctor.
Colon cancer is the second largest cause of cancer death among men. Fortunately, it is largely preventable by being screened for colon cancer, beginning at age 50 (and sooner if it runs in the family). It involves having a colorectal specialist insert a camera at the end of a flexible tube into the colon to look for and remove cancer-causing polyps. This procedure is called a colonoscopy and it should be repeated every ten years as a screening measure, starting at 50 years of age. Keeping a high fiber diet that is low in fat may also reduce the risks of colon cancer. More on this in subsequent blogs.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men. There are basically two types of prostate cancer—slow growing and fast growing. Either way, it is worth getting screened for prostate cancer through the use of digital rectal examination every five years at the doctor’s office. Some doctors also draw blood for prostate specific antigen or PSA. This number can be high in enlarged prostate conditions or in prostate cancer. If it is elevated, doctors can try and determine if it is related to cancer or not.
Lung cancer caused by smoking is the number one cause of cancer deaths in the UK and America. The simplest way to reduce the risk of lung cancer is to never smoke or to stop smoking as soon as possible. There are many ways to quit smoking and many health services and support networks exist to help people who wish to stop smoking. Ask your doctor or make enquiries online for nearest support services
It is recommended that those with a history of heavy smoking, who smoke at present or have quit within the last 15 years and are between the ages of 55 and 80 years of ageshould undergo yearly lung screenings. Heavy smoking is defined as smoking at least one pack of cigarettes per day for one year. A 30 pack-year history can equate to 1 pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years.
Men are at a greater risk of heart disease than women are. Things like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, lack of exercise, and family history contribute toa high risk of heart disease especially with men who have family histories. Measures should be taken to reduce the other risk factors. This means adopting a heart healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in fat. It means a commitment to regular exercise three to five days a week. Finally it means seeing a doctor to find out about risk factors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
If these are elevated, your doctor may prescribe medications that can further reduce your risk of getting a heart attack. I personally detest the thought of having to take prescription medications unless absolutely necessary. I went through my health scare phase where I was on prescription medication for almost four years. My hatred of the experience was part of what spurred me onto seeking an alternative health path. But if you must be on medication to keep health issues at bay then by all means do seek whatever professional guidance is needed and do what is necessary to safeguard long-term health.
The Family Connection:
Besides all the conditions listed above, it is also a good idea to find out about any medical conditions that run in the family as genetics can play a big role in the development of certain diseases. Oftentimes, children, parents, and grandparents share similar health problems because inherited factors put family members at risk through genes. Disease often results from the combined effects of minor changes in multiple genes, and each gene then contributes in a small way to the symptoms of and development of disease. However, there is the new and exciting science of Epigenetics which I will write a few articles on in the subsequent weeks. Epigenetics simply surmises that you can overwrite or override your genetic predisposition by consciously adopting positive lifestyle habits and making healthy lifestyle choices and there seems to be the research to prove it! So watch this space.
Heart disease, diabetes, and cancer account for 6 of every 10 deaths in the UK and the United Statesand are considered genetic diseases because they run in families. Gathering a detailed family history can give you important information as to your risk factors and that awareness can be used to monitor for and possibly prevent the onset of problems whenever possible.
The bottom line is that factors and conditions for ill-health lurk around almost every corner. It is quite easy when we read blogs, read the statistics, visit health websites and even seek information from off the internet to get really scared of developing some sort of serious health condition or other and we begin to live in fear. I refuse to be a harbinger of doom and my intention is never to induce fear but to encourage you to set health goals and then to take one positive step at a time towards achieving and maintaining these. Not easy I can assure you but very do-able and so infinitely rewarding! Your body will thank you for it.
So let us all strive to take more responsibility for maintaining good health in every way we can. We can no longer afford to depend on some aloof physician to safeguard our health because by the time we get to that point we could be facing potentially chronic or life-threatening health conditions. We can start off each day by incorporating some healthy action into our routine or taking something unhealthy out of it and as we continue to practice this, adopting healthy habits becomes a new lifestyle and you are all the better for it! You can do it. Go on! Be well always! I struggle like everyone else to keep at my goals of any sort but I’m hanging on and after my serious ill health experience years ago, anything to do with good health is now my burning passion. Yes, passion does help!
Do feel to drop me a line. I‘d be delighted to hear from you! Until next time, remember you are special, so be well and keep well!
Always passionate about your health & mine