men’s health week 2013

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), men tend to live four years less than women, which is why National Men’s Health Week, June 10-16, 2013, is an important topic to cover.

Image courtesy of menshealthmonth.org.

Image courtesy of menshealthmonth.org.

The CDC is urging men and boys to take their health into their own hands by taking a few simple steps:

  1. Get good sleep
  2. Toss out the tobacco
  3. Move more
  4. Eat healthy
  5. Tame stress
  6. Stay on top of your game
  7. Find affordable healthcare

Getting a good night’s rest does more than just eliminate an extra cup of coffee; it also counteracts many chronic illnesses. Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression are all aggravated by lack of sleep. Insufficient sleep can also affect one’s ability to operate a vehicle or heavy machinery. In fact, lack of sleep accounts for many accidents and disabilities each year. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.

With all of the smoking cessation campaigns, it’s no surprise that the CDC would recommend quitting smoking. According to an online source, within the first 20 minutes of quitting, blood pressure and pulse rate normalize. Within 12 hours, blood oxygen levels will begin to increase and carbon monoxide levels will decrease.  By the time the one-year mark is reached, the risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke drop by over 50% when compared to a smoker.

It is now recommended that men, as well as women, get 2 ½ hours of moderate exercise per week. This includes moderate-intensity cardio activity and strength training. It is recommended to also spread this out over the course of a week by breaking up the recommended time into manageable sessions. Not only is staying active good for cardiovascular health, it can also lower the incidence of obesity, and reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression, heart disease, hypertension, etc.

Eating healthy and managing stress can also increase a man’s life expectancy. By eating a variety of fruits and vegetables each day, many chronic illnesses are minimized and, in some cases, eliminated. Stress is also a contributing factor to men’s overall health. Seeking out support and staying socially connected can help control the over-stressed male.

Finally, regular checkups with a family care physician and a board-certified dermatologist can help diagnose minor health issues before they become chronic health concerns. Paying close attention to chest pains, shortness of breath and suspicious looking moles will let you know it’s time to seek out a professional’s opinion. Preventative measures should also be taken, such as applying a broad spectrum sunscreen to all sun exposed body parts every day or making an appointment when symptoms of any kind appear out of the blue. Don’t wait for the symptom to become a problem.

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