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Men's Health: 3 Keys to Becoming Well-Rounded

Reviewed by: Dr. Steven Knauf, D.C.

By Paul Rothbart

Men's Health

The concept of being a man has evolved over the centuries from the stoic old-school, be tough, rub-some-dirt-on-it mentality that many of us grew up with. Men were viewed as simple creatures whose main job was to protect and support the family.

Today’s reality is that men are every bit as diverse and complex as women. The most important goals of men should be the same as for women; maintain physical, mental, and emotional health while being a productive member of a community and family, as well as a good role model for others -- including their children. .

Common Men’s Health Issues and Prevention

Both men and women are vulnerable to the health issues that plague human beings. There are some health problems unique to men or are more common in males.

Heart Disease

Cardiovascular issues, such as heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke are on the top list of illnesses common in men. Nearly 700,000 Americans die of heart disease annually and 55.3 percent of them are men. Men with high blood pressure are at greater risk. Men over the age of 45 and African Americans are at a higher risk of high blood pressure.

High cholesterol can clog arteries and cause heart disease. Eating a healthy diet low in saturated fats with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help prevent these issues. Minimizing the sodium in your diet and better management of stress can help lower blood pressure to healthy levels.

Prostate Problems

Prostate issues are exclusively a male problem because women do not possess this body organ. The prostate is a gland that plays a role in reproduction. As men age, it often enlarges. This can lead to prostate cancer, which affects 200,000 American men every year.

This is the most common type of cancer found in men. It’s essential to have a prostate screening at each annual physical. Prostate cancer does not always lead to death and the chances of survival are greatly improved by early detection.

Diabetes

Diabetes is another health issue men need to be aware of. Type 1 is less common and is an autoimmune disease. Type 2 occurs much more frequently and is caused by high levels of glucose in the blood. This occurs when the pancreas cannot produce a sufficient amount of insulin or the body develops insulin resistance.

Two early signs of diabetes are excessive thirst and frequent urination. Diabetes develops slowly and the symptoms are easy to miss. Be aware of these signs and have your blood sugar levels checked at your yearly physical.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is one of the leading killers of men, especially those who smoke. Ninety percent of lung cancer cases are linked to smoking. This terrible habit also frequently causes emphysema.

There are no early-detection tests for lung cancer. By the time it’s diagnosed, it is usually far along and difficult to treat. If you smoke, make the effort to quit. It’s not an easy habit to give up but the reduction in the risk of lung cancer and emphysema makes it worth the effort.

 

Depression

Depression is a very common mental health problem. It occurs slightly more often in women but many men suffer from it too. Depression is often masked by the macho attitude of being tough and pushing through pain. Some men won’t acknowledge their negative feelings and their depression goes undiagnosed and untreated.

Depression has numerous symptoms that are fairly easy to detect. The inability to sleep or sleeping far more than normal are both common signs. Lethargy and lack of interest in activities that you normally enjoy are common symptoms, as are feelings of sadness, despair, or hopelessness. Suicidal thoughts are an extreme symptom.

Don’t ignore even the slightest signs of depression. It is a debilitating and sometimes life-threatening condition and help is available. With therapy and medication, you can learn to manage it and live a healthy life.

If you or someone you know is considering self-harm, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is 800-273-8255 or can be reached by dialing 988.

Men’s Health and Fitness Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle

Mental and physical health are vital to a happy, productive, and hopefully, long life. Living a healthy lifestyle increases your chances of achieving these goals. There are five things a man can do to stay fit and healthy.

Be Active

A sedentary lifestyle is an unhealthy lifestyle. It’s that simple. Making the effort to engage in physical activity can help prevent many physical and mental illnesses. Try to get in 30 minutes of exercise 4-5 days per week. It can be any kind of activity. Choosing something you enjoy will help you stay consistent. Run, bike, swim, or play your favorite sport. Even walking is a great way to exercise. Strength training twice a week will also boost your health. Calisthenics, weight training, Pilates, and yoga are all effective. You don’t need to be jacked, but greater muscle mass pays health benefits.

Eat Well

Naturally, what you put in your body has a huge impact on your health. The number of calories you consume varies depending on age, body type, and lifestyle but there are guidelines that all men should follow.

Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle tissue. Stick with leaner meats to avoid unhealthy amounts of fat. Fish, chicken, and beans are excellent sources of lean protein. Lean cuts of beef are occasionally OK.

Dietitians recommend that men eat three cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit every day. These foods are packed with nutrients as well as antioxidants that help fight chronic diseases.

Whole grains provide fiber and help fight high cholesterol. Aim to eat three cups per day.

Avoid saturated fats. These are among the most unhealthy foods you can consume. Stay away from processed foods as well. They tend to contain fats, excess sodium, and chemicals, all of which are bad for your health.

Drink plenty of water. Lack of hydration can cause many health issues. The recommendation for most people is 64 ounces per day (the eight glasses we were told as we were growing up). Drink more on hot or active days when you are sweating heavily.

Don’t Smoke and Only Drink Moderately

As mentioned earlier, smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your body. If you smoke, quit. There are studies that show some benefits to moderate alcohol consumption. The key is to not overdo it. The CDC recommends that men have no more than two drinks per day. A cocktail before dinner or a glass of wine with it is pleasing enough.

Care for Your Mental Health

Life can be very stressful and that can impact your mental health. There are ways to help protect it. Consistently getting good sleep for 7-8 hours each night will boost your mental and physical health. Having hobbies and ways to relax in your downtime will help take the edge off and improve your ability to manage stress. Being out in nature and interacting with family and friends induce the brain to produce the feel-good chemicals that are essential to good mental health. No matter how busy you get, don’t neglect having some time for yourself.

Medical Professionals

You have a mechanic to maintain your car and you need medical professionals to maintain you. At the very least, every man should have a primary care physician that he visits once a year for a complete physical. This is essential for men’s health. Seeing a dentist twice a year is also recommended because tooth decay can release bacteria into the bloodstream and cause serious issues.

Depending on what problems you may have, you might need other medical professionals, such as a psychologist, a dermatologist, or a massage therapist.

Consider having a regular chiropractic adjustment. Pain and many physical ailments are often caused by poor posture; having your spine and joints properly aligned can relieve pain and help prevent it in the future, as well as improve nervous system function. You’ll also benefit from full range of motion, which could help at work, playing with the grandkids, or navigating second base in your Tuesday night rec league.

The Joint Chiropractic has clinics throughout the nation and no appointment is needed. Stop by the one nearest you to see how chiropractic can add to your health.

One last tip is that studies show married men live longer than single guys. That doesn’t mean you should just run out and get married but it is something to consider; having someone in your life may give you a reason to take care of yourself.

Fatherhood and Male Role Models

So much of human behavior is learned by observation and imitation. Young boys learn how to be men by the influence of adult males they look up to. These are often professional athletes, actors, or musicians. That’s not always a bad thing, but many of these men are not positive male role models. Charles Barkley owned it in a TV commercial when he stated, “I am not a role model.”

The main influences on a child’s life should be their parents. And whether we know it or not, they’re watching us. An involved father is important. Single mothers work hard at raising their children but without a fatherly connection, it may be difficult.

Fathers who take an active part in raising and teaching their kids benefit girls as well as boys. A good example helps boys grow up to be good young men, productive members of society, and good fathers themselves. For girls, a positive male role model teaches them how a good man treats and respects women. They will be less likely to enter and stay in abusive relationships. Children of both genders learn self-confidence and self-respect. These lessons help them lead healthy, productive, and happy lives. Never underestimate the importance of being a good father.

Being a man these days is not about fighting sabretooth tigers, jousting, or dueling. It’s a complex world and a man must take care of himself as well as his loved ones. Look out for your health, and provide a role model that will guide your children to successful adulthood.

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