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Men’s Health: Take Control - You’re in the Driver’s Seat

By Griffin Hospital on 6/15/2016

Compared to women, men are statistically more likely to smoke, drink alcohol in excess, put off regular checkups and medical care, and make other unhealthy choices. However, these statistics are no reason to throw in the towel. For men to turn the tide, they need to make simple life choices, and the good news is that you can help them “Man up” by taking better care of their health today.

Here’s how:

  • See a doctor for regular checkups. Even if you “feel fine,” you should see your physician for a physical or wellness exam every year. These visits are important because the symptoms of some diseases, such as colon cancer, don’t appear until they are in the later - and more dangerous - stages.  Plus, seeing a doctor will give you a chance to learn more about your health, set and work toward personal health goals, and establish baselines that will help you and your doctor make future healthcare decisions. 
  • Learn what tests are right for you. While it’s important to get screened regularly for diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure, other recommended health tests will depend on your age, lifestyle and genetic risk factors. Click here for a full list of screenings based on your age and gender. Talk to your physician about what screenings are best for you.
  • Make sure your immunizations are up to date. You should get a flu shot every year, no matter what your age. You should also get the Tdap shot to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough (pertussis), along with a booster every 10 years. After age 60, you should get immunized against shingles as well as pneumococcal disease, which causes pneumonia, meningitis, and blood infections. Men are 24 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for pneumonia that could have been prevented by getting an immunization.
  • Watch for signs of diabetes. More than 100 million Americans have prediabetes or diabetes. However, men are 32 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for the long-term complications of diabetes and are more than twice as likely as women to have a leg or foot amputated due to complications related to diabetes. Most cases of diabetes are preventable and a simple and quick glucose test can let you know if you’re at risk.
  • Eating healthy and being active. Men are less likely to eat fruits and vegetables than women, and three in four American men are overweight. By cutting back on saturated fats, trans fats and simple carbohydrates, while increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat, you can reduce your chances of developing chronic health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. Further, exercise has been proven to help improve heart health and better control blood sugar levels. As an added bonus, exercise also acts as a natural antidepressant.
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