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A Health Guide for Men
Hey guys! When is the last time you went to see your primary care provider? Everyone, from children to young men to older adults, all should have at least annual checkups. It’s okay if you have been slacking on your health lately, we understand. The pandemic set a lot of us back on our goals. But now, it's National Men's Health Month and the perfect time to get started toward a healthier life. According to the CDC, in the United States, on average, men die five years earlier than women and face higher rates of heart disease, cancer, and unintentional injuries. During National Men's Health Week, we want to encourage and remind men to take control of their health, and for families to teach young boys’ healthy habits throughout childhood.
Set an Example with Healthy Habits
Learn about the steps you can take each day to improve your health:
Get good sleep. Adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep, and kids (specifically preschoolers) need 10-13 hours. Children need significantly more sleep than adults to support their rapid mental and physical development. Insufficient sleep is associated with several chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Also, poor sleep is responsible for motor vehicle and machinery-related accidents.
Eat healthily. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits and vegetables have many vitamins and minerals that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol.
Move more. Regular physical activity has many benefits. It can help control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease and some cancers, and can improve your mental health and mood. Adults need at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week and muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) on two or more days a week. You don't have to do it all at once. Spread your activity out during the week and break it into smaller amounts of time during the day. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children ages 3 to 5 be physically active throughout the day to enhance their growth and development. Child exercises can be fun for the whole family, so get creative. For example, if your child likes to climb, head for the nearest jungle gym or climbing wall. Or, if your child loves reading, walk or bike to a local library for a book.
Toss out the tobacco. It's never too late to quit. If you have a son, set an example by choosing not to smoke. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits. It improves your health and lowers your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses.
Tame stress. Sometimes stress can be useful. However, it can be harmful when it is severe enough to make you feel overwhelmed and out of control. Physical or emotional tension are often signs of stress. They can be reactions to a situation that causes you to feel threatened or anxious. Learn different ways to help you manage stress, like finding support, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
Stay on Top of Your Game–Get Regular Checkups
Pay attention to signs and symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, excessive thirst, and problems with urination. It's important to see your primary care provider for regular checkups. And, if you notice anything off or suddenly feel different, schedule an appointment. You don't want to wait to get checked out. Certain diseases and conditions may not have symptoms, so checkups help identify issues early or before they can become a problem.
Fellas, do your part! Be prepped and ready for your doctor’s visits. Keep track of your numbers for blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), or any others you may have. Your primary care provider can explain what they mean and suggest how you can get them to a healthier range if your numbers are too high or too low. Be sure to ask what tests you need and how often you need them.
Get vaccinated! Everyone needs immunizations to stay healthy, no matter how old you are. Even if you had vaccines as a child, immunity could fade with time. Vaccine recommendations are based on a variety of factors, including age, overall health, and medical history.
Men (and women) need to understand their family health history, which is a written or visual record of the diseases and health conditions present in your family. It is helpful to talk with family members about health history, write this information down, and update it from time to time.
There's no better time than now to take control of your health and safety, especially throughout Men's Health Month and Men's Health Week. We want to increase the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases among men and boys. The good news, as mentioned above, is that you can prevent many health threats through a healthy diet and regular physical activity. The best way to avoid health problems is to visit your primary care provider annually or ask questions as needed. Finding the right provider is crucial to receive proper care for your health needs. If you need help, use our Physician Finder or email our Patient Experience Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org. It's time to make your health a priority.
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