Many men like to think they’re invincible, especially when their health is concerned. The facts tell a different story. The leading causes of death for American men are heart disease and cancer – two diseases that can largely be prevented by adopting a few essential healthy habits, the CDC says.
Don’t use tobacco.
That means in any form. Not smoking or chewing tobacco is one of the most important self-care actions men can take. Smoking triples the risk of dying of heart disease.
If you need to quit tobacco, ask your health care provider to help you. Check out these resources: smokefree.gov, and the National Quitline, 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669).
Exercising regularly can reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes and help you maintain a healthy weight. It doesn’t matter if you walk, run, swim, ride a bike, or play soccer with your kids – getting even 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week improves your health.
Eat a healthy diet.
The prescription here is for more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, and fish, and less red meat and high-fat and high-cholesterol foods.
Stay at a healthy weight.
Balance calories from foods and beverages with calories you burn off through your activities. To attain a healthy weight, make lower-fat food choices, eat smaller portions, and increase your physical activity.
Drink alcohol only in moderation.
Drinking to excess or abusing alcohol impairs physical and mental health, and destroys relationships and careers. If you think you might have a problem with alcohol, speak with your health care provider.
Get routine exams and screenings.
Based on your age, health history, lifestyle, and risk factors, your health care provider can determine how often you should be examined and screened for high blood pressure, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases, and cancers of the skin, prostate, and colon. When problems are found early, your chances for treatment and cure increase.
Don’t ignore depression.
Undiagnosed and untreated depression is a major risk factor for men and a primary cause of suicide. If you feel persistently down, angry, worthless, fatigued, or have any suicidal thoughts, see your health care provider or a mental health professional.
It’s easy for men to believe the rules don’t apply to them when it comes to safety. But the third-leading cause of death among men is accidents. To live a longer, disability-free life, buckle up and don’t drink and drive.