6 Ways Men Can Live Longer
According to the Agency for Health Care Quality and Research (AHRQ), men are:
- 24% less likely than women to have visited a doctor in the past.
- 22% more likely to have neglected their cholesterol tests.
- 28% more likely than women to be hospitalized for congestive heart failure.
- 32% more likely than women to be hospitalized for long-term complications of diabetes and are more than twice as likely to undergo amputation as a result of diabetes complications.
- 24% more likely than women to be hospitalized for pneumonia that could have been prevented with a simple immunization.
Here's what you need to know to start living a longer, healthier life:
- Watch what you eat and drink. Consuming healthy foods can help you avoid heart disease. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat or fat-free dairy and lean protein (such as fish and poultry) are vital components of a healthy diet. Eat three meals a day (skipping meals interferes with your body's metabolism) and enjoy healthy snacks like a cup of nonfat Greek yogurt or an apple.
- Know your caloric intake. Knowing the right number of calories to eat each day will help you get to or maintain a healthy weight. Monitor your calories by reading nutrition labels and learning what constitutes a healthy portion size. For most men, meals should have no more than 700 calories each. Learn more at: www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines.)
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity is necessary to control body weight and helps keep cholesterol in check. For overall health and fitness, experts recommend that men engage in 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. To prevent weight gain, 60 minutes of physical activity each day may be needed.
- Take a chill pill. Stress is an unavoidable part of life. It causes anxiety, depression, headaches, insomnia, and other unpleasant side effects. Finding pleasure in life and making time to do things you enjoy will make you feel happier. For immediate stress relief, deep breathing can help you relax. Here's how: sit in a comfortable position with your feet on the floor and your hands in your lap, or lie down. Close your eyes and picture a peaceful place. Keep that image in your mind as you focus on inhaling and exhaling slowly. Continue slowly breathing for five to ten minutes.
- Don't put off annual doctor visits. Be sure to have an annual flu shot and get necessary screening tests for cholesterol and cancer. You should know your numbers for blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol, as they provide a glimpse of your health and indicate risks for certain problems including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. If your numbers are too high or too low, your healthcare provider can make recommendations to help you get them to a healthier range. In between doctor visits, take preventive medicines if you need them. If you are 45 or older, ask your doctor if taking aspirin will help you prevent heart disease. High cholesterol and hypertension are also often controlled by medication.
- Perform a skin and body check. After showering, get into the habit of checking your skin and body regularly for lumps, rashes, sores, discolorations, limitations, and other changes, which could be signs of skin cancer. Take note of other changes such as those related to urine or bowel movements, thirst, hunger, fatigue, discharge, vision, and weight. If you find or experience anything suspicious, see your healthcare provider.
Gay men are especially vulnerable to certain diseases and conditions. Data from the CDC shows that gay men experience higher rates of sexually-transmitted diseases (STD), HIV infection, depression, suicide, and are more likely to smoke. To protect yourself, the CDC recommends an annual HIV test and tests for syphilis and chronic Hepatitis B infection. Depending on the type of sex you engage in, the CDC recommends other tests for STD. Informing your doctor will help him recommend other tests that may be appropriate for you.
To learn more about your health, visit: http://www.ahrq.gov/healthymen/ a website devoted entirely to keeping men health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
National Health Information Center
American Heart Association
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The material on the QualityHealth Web site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a physician or other qualified health provider. See additional information.