Let’s face it men are known to be more indifferent towards their health, especially when compared to the efforts of women, who proactively and publicly address their health issues in a way not traditionally seen with men. As a result, today the levels of awareness, understanding and funding for support of male health issues, like prostate cancer, lag significantly behind causes such as breast cancer.
The reasons for the poor state of men’s health in the UK and around a world are numerous and complex and this is primarily due to a lack of awareness of the health issues men face. This can largely be attributed to the reluctance in men to openly discussing the subject due to longstanding traditions, coupled with an ‘it’ll be alright’ attitude. Men are less likely to schedule doctors’ appointments when they feel ill or for an annual check-up, thereby denying them the chance of early detection and effective treatment of common diseases.
Statistics show that, on average, men die at a younger age than women – the average life expectancy for men is four years less than women (presently 78 compared to 82). That said, despite trailing the women’s health movement, things are beginning to change, but much more progress needs to be made to close the gap between the state of men and women’s health. Established taboos and barriers relating to men’s health are gradually being broken down.
It’s not all bad news! Maintaining a good diet, smart lifestyle choices and getting regular medical check-ups and screening tests can dramatically influence your health. Regardless of age, stay on top of your game by doing the following:
HAVE AN ANNUAL CHECK-UP
Getting annual checkups, preventative screening tests, and immunizations are among the most important things you can do to stay healthy.
If you do smoke, stop! Compared to non-smokers, men who smoke are about 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer. Smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer death in men
BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE
If you are not already doing some form of exercise, start small and work up to a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week.
ENJOY A HEART HEALTHY DIET
Fill up with fruits, vegetables, whole grains; include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and eat foods low in saturated fats, trans-fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
STAY AT A HEALTHY WEIGHT
Balance calories from foods and beverages with calories you burn off by physical activities
MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Stress, particularly long-term stress, can be the factor in the onset or worsening of ill health. Managing your stress is essential to your health & well being and should be practiced daily
DRINK ALCOHOL IN MODERATION
Alcohol can be part of a healthy balanced diet, but only if it’s in moderation, which means no more than two drinks a day
KNOW YOUR FAMILY HEALTH HISTORY
Start a discussion with your relatives about the health issues they’ve had in the past. Be sure to learn about relatives that have passed away.