Focus on Dad’s Health During Men’s Health Week

Dad holding babyFather’s Day falls during Men’s Health Week, a time to be aware of the health issues specifically facing the men in our lives. And while prostate cancer is often the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of “male” diseases, cardiovascular disease and stroke are still all-too common among men.

Despite advances in detection and treatment, men are still more likely than women to die of heart disease, liver disease and diabetes. Men also die at a higher rate than women of the most common cancers. Further, alcohol use and abuse is skewed towards men, with 76 percent of alcohol poisoning-related deaths occurring in men. And yet, only 30 percent of men’s overall health is determined by genetics. Men live an average of five years less than women, but, fortunately, many of the factors causing this decreased lifespan are preventable.

Here are three top tips for improving men’s health:

Find a doctor you are comfortable with, and make an appointment!

Studies show that, on average, men are 24 percent less likely to have visited a physician in the last year than women. Regular, preventative care and screenings are critical in catching serious illness while it is still easily treatable. Your physician will be able to tailor appropriate screenings to your health and will evaluate any risk factors to be aware of in the future.

Enact healthy, daily habits.

Eating right, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep are three ways to keep your mind and body healthy between doctor’s visits. While food can be an occasional indulgence, eating a healthy and balanced diet is proven to help prevent cardiovascular disease—the leading cause of death among both men and women. Watching your alcohol intake can also help you maintain good mental health. In terms of your daily workout, be sure to vary aerobic exercise with strength training, and remember to stretch! Finally, getting enough sleep ensures that your mind and body have time to rest and recover from your busy routine.

Don’t forget your mental health!

Having an open dialogue with your doctor is a key element of proper care. By being upfront about your health, you will be able to catch issues before they truly become problems. Similarly, try to be able to be open to discussing your mental health. Suicide rates for men are higher than for women for every age group, with much of the disparity attributed to men being less willing than women to openly discuss their mental health. However, by regularly checking in with your physician, you can watch for signs of mental illness, enabling you to catch and treat them early.

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