Healthy living is very important to all of us, but guys get a bad rap when it comes to taking care of themselves.
Unfortunately, sometimes it is well-deserved.
Many men put health screenings and regular checkups low on their to-do lists.
In fact, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, more than one in four men say they wait as long as possible before seeing a doctor, even when they feel ill.
In today’s world, that’s understandable — family, work, friends, life pressures can keep you busy 24/7.
But, if you invest some time in your good health now, it can pay off big in the long run.
However, like any investment, it takes some planning.
These tips may help to get back on track:
Get involved. Start by scheduling a checkup.
During the visit, tell your doctor everything you know about your health history, including:
• Medicines you are taking, such as over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements
• Any conditions that have been diagnosed
• Your family health history
This is the time to bring up any health issues you are having — physical or emotional.
Don’t hold back, even if it’s embarrassing.
Doctors have heard it all.
Be well informed. Information is power, and health screenings can help you and your doctor get the facts about your health.
Ask about screening for the following conditions.
Your doctor will guide you about the frequency that’s right for you.
• High cholesterol. Have your lipids checked starting at age 35. You may need to begin earlier, if heart disease runs in your family. Talk with your doctor about how often you should be checked.
• High blood pressure. Get tested starting as early as at age 18. Ask your doctor how often you should be tested.
• Diabetes. If you have high cholesterol or your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 mmHg, have your blood sugar checked.
• Colorectal cancer. Screening usually starts at age 50. But, you may need to start sooner if you’re at an increased risk, such as if you have a family history of the disease.
• Abdominal aortic aneurysm. Men between ages 65 and 75 who have ever smoked should be tested.
• Sexually transmitted infections. Ask your doctor if you need to be screened for diseases such as HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis or chlamydia.
Take your medicine. If your doctor has prescribed any medicines, be sure to take them as directed.
If you are older than age 45, ask your doctor if you should take aspirin to help prevent heart attack.
Polish up your healthful habits. To a large extent, your health depends on your daily behaviors.
Making healthy lifestyle choices can help cut your risks of many diseases, for example:
• If you smoke, quit. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body.
• Step it up. Regular exercise may help you avoid chronic illness, such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.
Walking can be a good start, too.
Also, consider shooting hoops, lifting weights or doing some serious gardening.
Aim for at least 2.5 hours of exercise each week.
• Fill your plate — with nutrition.
It may be easier than you think to eat healthful foods.
Go for plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Choose low-fat or nonfat dairy products and include fish, lean meats and poultry.
Beans, eggs and nuts also are healthy food choices.
• Watch your weight. Stick with a healthy diet.
Being overweight is linked to high blood pressure,osteoarthritis, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and other serious conditions.
Avoid high calorie foods to help keep your weight from climbing.
Staying active also helps.
• Go easy on alcohol.
Consider not drinking at all.
If you do drink, limit it to no more than two drinks a day.
Pat yourself on the back.
Taking charge of your health can help you lead a longer and healthier life — and that will benefit your loved ones as well as yourself.
So, give yourself credit for a job well done.
Starting a fitness program may be one of the best things you can do for your health and well being.
Set up you daily fitness goals.
Shorter exercise sessions can add up to a good day’s workout.
By planning carefully and pacing yourself, you can make fitness a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime.
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