Calling All Men to Focus on Scoring Better Health
June recognizes a number of health-related dates. It is noted as Men’s Health Month and includes Men’s Health Week. Additionally there is also Wear Blue Day the color that is designated to raise awareness and educate men and women about the importance of men’s health. Whether it is a day, a week or the entire month, I want to encourage men to note and not ignore the signals their bodies may send that there is something out of order.
Men’s health is at risk as a result of some of the same health concerns we see in women. Cardiovascular (CVD) disease is one; more than one in three adult men has some form of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease most often refers to conditions that involve blood vessels. The vessels may be stiffened, narrowed or blocked, which can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. These afflictions occur because when the vessels are in less than optimum condition. The marred condition of the blood vessels prevents adequate amounts of blood to flow freely to supply the heart, brain and other organs.
Heart disease is the range of maladies that include blood vessel diseases, heart rhythm problems and heart defects (congenital heart defects) that you may be born with. Coronary heart disease is a common term for the development or buildup of plaque inside heart’s arteries. The plaque is made from cholesterol some of which the body produces and some cholesterol is from the foods we eat that are high in saturated fats and trans fats. High cholesterol foods include animal sources, such as meat, poultry and full-fat dairy items.
There are several lifestyle changes that men can make to promote heart health. They include: Heart Healthy Eating-
vegetables including broccoli, cabbage, carrots, spinach and asparagus
fruit such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, prunes and tomatoes (yes tomatoes are a fruit!)
fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, tuna, trout, mussels, and sardines
legumes such as lentils, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, and chickpeas
fat-free or low-fat dairy such as skim milk and Greek-style yogurt
whole grain breads, oatmeal, brown rice and corn tortillas
Avoid a lot of red meat, palm and coconut oils, sugary foods and beverages
Don’t overindulge in alcohol. Men should limit alcohol intake to no more than two drinks a day. A drink is considered, 12 ounces of beer; 5 ounces of wine; 1½ ounces of liquor Maintain A Healthy Weight-if you are overweight, take steps to drop the extra pounds. By changing your eating habits and exercising more you should be able to get the readings on your scale to go down. All adults will benefit from some type of physical activity.
Include moderate-intensity physical activity of at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) in your schedule. This can include organized team sports, working-out in the gym, walking more or training at home via video tapes. However, don’t jump into strenuous activity immediately, talk to your doctor or health care provider to make sure you are exercise-ready. Managing Stress-This can sometimes be a challenge, however by adding the recommended amount of physical activity to your schedule, this will help in managing stress. Other options for managing stress are a stress management program, meditation, relaxation therapy and simply talking things out with trusted friends or your family.Stop Smoking-that sums it up. If you need help to stop, reach out to your health care provider for medical aids or referral to a support group.
Men can be resistant to change however when they opt to modify their lifestyle throughout the year it can help ensure they’re able to continue to enjoy food, sports activities and sex, living happier, healthier and more enjoyable lives.
Take Away: Men can benefit from changing their lifestyle. By taking steps to improve their well-being, they can reduce their risk factors for chronic health challenges.