Men's Health: Risks to Avoid
Avoid these behaviors and you can
decrease your risk for these top threats to men’s health.
Avoiding the Doctor
Avoiding the doctor is one thing
you should not do. Men are notorious for avoiding doctors' offices and
brushing off unusual symptoms or problems. Seeking appropriate medical attention
is not macho; it’s just dangerous. If you notice an unusual problem or find you
are experiencing something that just will not go away, it’s important to see
your doctor. In many cases, it may be no big deal, but knowing is certainly
better than ignoring potential problems. Regular checkups ensure that you will
get the preventive care you need, including vaccinations and screenings for
common men’s health problems, such as hernia, prostate enlargement, high
cholesterol levels, and more.
Modern medicine is often miraculous, but if you do not
comply with your doctor’s instructions for dealing with a condition, you
increase your risk of complications, as well as up the chances of making the
situation worse. Take all medicines your doctor prescribes, even if you feel
better before the entire prescription is gone. Specific diets may help your
body cope naturally with certain conditions. Sticking with the plan improves
your chances of success on your journey toward wellness.
Smoking greatly increases your risk of heart disease,
cancer, and stroke, among other serious ailments. Studies show that light or
occasional smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke have the same effect on
your lungs as chain smoking. No amount is safe. Consult your doctor for help if
you are ready to quit. Studies show that smoking cessation aids, such as
nicotine gum, lozenges, or patches, increase your chances of successfully
Eating Fatty, Salty, or Sugary Foods
Diets high in fat, sodium, and sugar can cause
diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity,
cardiovascular disease, and high blood
pressure. If left untreated, all these conditions can damage and weaken
your heart’s muscles, increasing your chances for heart disease and heart
attack. Plus, it’s thought that high blood pressure, heart disease, and high
cholesterol may also increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Ignoring Chronic Stress
Although occasional stress is unavoidable, persistent or chronic
stress can be harmful. It may tax your heart muscles, increase blood pressure,
and elevate levels of the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine. Seek
constructive ways to manage and relieve stress. Consider engaging in exercise
daily, take a yoga class, or try meditation.
Two glasses of wine or two units of distilled spirits every day
might cut your risk of heart disease. Men who are not alcoholic may benefit
from consuming two units of alcohol daily, but more than that will increase
your risk of several health problems. Excess alcohol use is bad for every
single organ in your body and increases your chances of being involved in
Limit your sun exposure, especially if you are not wearing
sun-protective clothing or sunscreen. Unprotected exposure to the sun’s rays
increases your risk of skin cancer. Total sun avoidance has been linked to
vitamin D deficiency, however, so consider supplementing with vitamin D3.
Gaining Excess Weight
Being overweight is one of the most common risk factors for many
health problems, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, arthritis,
and kidney disease. Maintaining a healthy weight is a positive step toward
cutting your risks.
Dismissing Signs of Depression
Suicide is a leading
cause of death in American men, and depression is a key indicator of suicide.
Do not ignore signs of depression. Talk with your doctor if you are
feeling sluggish or extra tired, if you experience loss of appetite, if you are
irritable or easily agitated, or if you no longer have a sex drive.