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Men’s Health Month: Get your change on

Maybe you’re one of those guys who are notorious for neglecting their health. Now is a great time to change that — June is Men’s Health Month! I’ve compiled the top five causes of death for men, and steps you can take right now to lower your risk.


Heart Disease

This accounts for one in four male deaths. Most sudden cardiac events occur in men, and half who die suddenly have no previous symptoms. Most Americans have at least one risk factor for heart disease. But there are things you can do to decrease your risk:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Ask your doctor what your healthy weight is.
  • Eat healthy. Include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy and healthy fats every day.
  • Be active. Get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. If 150 minutes is a big change for you, start small and work up to it.
  • Moderate alcohol intake. That’s no more than two drinks per day, guys (and you can’t save them throughout the week and drink them all at once on the weekend).


Cancer

The three most deadly cancers for men are lung, prostate, and colorectal cancers. There are over 100 types of cancer, but many can be prevented or successfully treated. Here’s what you can do:

  • Get regular medical checkups. Screenings are important to find precancerous lesions and treat them before they become cancerous, and to find cancerous tumors as early as possible.
  • Avoid tobacco and limit alcohol use.
  • Avoid excessive exposure to the sun.
  • Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Be active.


Unintentional Injuries

This includes injuries from falls, fires, drowning, poisoning, motor vehicle crashes, sports and recreational activities. Most unintentional injuries are very preventable. Take these steps to reduce your risk of injury:

  • Don’t drive if you’re sleepy, and certainly not while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Wear your seatbelt all the time, and obey all traffic laws (including the speed limit).
  • Look for safety issues around your home, like frayed cords or loose rugs. Fix or remove these issues.
  • Use appropriate safety gear during sports.
  • Follow workplace safety guidelines.
  • Use care with ladders, power equipment, and chemicals.
  • Learn to swim.


Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases

Also called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic lower respiratory diseases include emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking is the main cause of COPD, and is strongly associated with lung cancer. It’s worth knowing that if you smoke, you are 12 times more likely to die of COPD than a man who has never smoked. Early symptoms are shortness of breath, an ongoing cough, or chest tightness; and the damage cannot be undone. Most cases of COPD are completely preventable! Here’s how:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Avoid irritants like chemical fumes, air pollution, and dust.


Stroke

A stroke occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are the biggest risk factors for stroke. Decrease your risk now with these steps:

  • Eat healthy and moderate alcohol intake. Eat more fruits and vegetables, and less sodium.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Be active.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Monitor your blood pressure, and take all medications as prescribed.

Did you notice any similarities? Your lifestyle is the biggest factor in all of these preventable causes of death! That means you have the power to change your risk! Take action now; the sooner you do, the less likely you will be to have a run-in with these health issues.


What one change will be at the top of your list this week?