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Avoid these behaviors and you can decrease your risk for these top threats to men’s health.
Avoiding the doctor is one thing you should not do. Men are notorious for avoiding doctors' offices and brushing off unusual symptoms or problems. Seeking appropriate medical attention is not macho; it’s just dangerous. If you notice an unusual problem or find you are experiencing something that just will not go away, it’s important to see your doctor. In many cases, it may be no big deal, but knowing is certainly better than ignoring potential problems. Regular checkups ensure that you will get the preventive care you need, including vaccinations and screenings for common men’s health problems, such as hernia, prostate enlargement, high cholesterol levels, and more.
Modern medicine is often miraculous, but if you do not comply with your doctor’s instructions for dealing with a condition, you increase your risk of complications, as well as up the chances of making the situation worse. Take all medicines your doctor prescribes, even if you feel better before the entire prescription is gone. Specific diets may help your body cope naturally with certain conditions. Sticking with the plan improves your chances of success on your journey toward wellness.
Smoking greatly increases your risk of heart disease, cancer, and stroke, among other serious ailments. Studies show that light or occasional smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke have the same effect on your lungs as chain smoking. No amount is safe. Consult your doctor for help if you are ready to quit. Studies show that smoking cessation aids, such as nicotine gum, lozenges, or patches, increase your chances of successfully quitting.
Diets high in fat, sodium, and sugar can cause diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure. If left untreated, all these conditions can damage and weaken your heart’s muscles, increasing your chances for heart disease and heart attack. Plus, it’s thought that high blood pressure, heart disease, and high cholesterol may also increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Although occasional stress is unavoidable, persistent or chronic stress can be harmful. It may tax your heart muscles, increase blood pressure, and elevate levels of the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine. Seek constructive ways to manage and relieve stress. Consider engaging in exercise daily, take a yoga class, or try meditation.
Two glasses of wine or two units of distilled spirits every day might cut your risk of heart disease. Men who are not alcoholic may benefit from consuming two units of alcohol daily, but more than that will increase your risk of several health problems. Excess alcohol use is bad for every single organ in your body and increases your chances of being involved in accidents.
Limit your sun exposure, especially if you are not wearing sun-protective clothing or sunscreen. Unprotected exposure to the sun’s rays increases your risk of skin cancer. Total sun avoidance has been linked to vitamin D deficiency, however, so consider supplementing with vitamin D3.
Being overweight is one of the most common risk factors for many health problems, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and kidney disease. Maintaining a healthy weight is a positive step toward cutting your risks.
Suicide is a leading cause of death in American men, and depression is a key indicator of suicide. Do not ignore signs of depression. Talk with your doctor if you are feeling sluggish or extra tired, if you experience loss of appetite, if you are irritable or easily agitated, or if you no longer have a sex drive.
Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Medically reviewed on: Aug 18, 2014: George Krucik, MD, MBA
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