Good Health for Men Often Depends on Wellness Awareness and Early Screenings
(BPT) – The statistics for men’s health are alarming. For men, life expectancy is 76.3 years; for women, it’s 81.2 years. The Kaiser Family Foundation points out that nearly 71 percent of men are at risk of being overweight or obese, compared to 59 percent for women. Far more women than men are likely to go to a physician office visit, according to the Centers for Disease Control. These statistics may be worrisome for men and their loved ones, but many of the health risks men face can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle and getting recommended and timely preventive health screenings. “It’s important for men to take charge of their health,” said Dr. Chad E. Bittner, a chief medical officer of OptumCare. “And there are a number of things men can do to get and stay healthy.” Bittner offers the following tips to help men improve their health and well-being: Physical activity: Regardless of gender, Bittner said he gives people the same general health advice, although men often need more reminders. One focus area for patients is physical activity. Regular physical activity can control weight, reduce risks of developing heart disease and some cancers, and can improve overall mental health and mood. Nutrition: Another important priority is nutrition. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day, and limit foods and drinks high in sugar, salt, saturated fat and alcohol.
What can you do?
High cholesterol and high blood pressure are two main risk factors for heart disease. Help to lower your risk of heart disease by watching what you eat. You may already know it’s important to focus on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, fish and lower or fat-free dairy. But there are three red foods in particular that could mean a healthier heart. Research has shown that eating apples, cranberries and tomatoes can reduce your risk of heart disease by as much as 40 percent.
Among other benefits, apples can help to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Apples – the peels in particular – are rich in antioxidants that your body needs.
Drinking up to three cups of cranberry juice daily can raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels and reduce heart disease. It can also help prevent the clogging of arteries.
Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene-rich foods have been shown to reduce coronary disease risk. For added benefit, cook the tomatoes, since lycopene is better absorbed when heated.
He points out other important reminders for men:
Sunscreen: Don’t overlook the importance of using sunscreen. Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the United States. Prescriptions: All patients need to work with their doctors to get a full understanding of the purpose and side effects of the prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs and supplements they take. Depression: It’s important for men and those close to them to be aware of the warning signs for Depression. If you or the men in your life are not making positive health choices, now is the perfect time to take charge of your health. More information is available at optumcare.com/menshealth.