Do men sometimes take better care of their cars than they do their bodies?
“Men notice when their car doesn’t perform properly, but they don’t always listen when their body tells them it’s time to see a doctor,” says Dr. Salvatore Giorgianni, science advisor to the Men’s Health Network (MHN). “Men’s Health Month is a call to action for all men and their families to take ownership of their health and well-being. All dads out there should use Father’s Day as a reminder of how much their family needs them, and how important it is for them to take care of themselves.”
June is Men’s Health Month, and groups across the country are joining the Men’s Health Network in celebrating this special awareness period. The goal of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the public’s awareness of the many preventable health problems that affect men and boys.
Top Things Men Can Do to be Healthier
There are many easy things you can do every day to improve your health and stay healthy. Here are some suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
Get Good Sleep
Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Also, insufficient sleep is responsible for motor vehicle and machinery-related accidents, causing substantial injury and disability each year. Sleep guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation have noted that sleep needs change as we age. In general, adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep.
Toss out the Tobacco
It’s never too late to quit. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits. It improves your health and lowers your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses. Also avoid being around secondhand smoke. Inhaling other people’s smoke causes health problems similar to those that smokers have. Babies and kids are still growing, so the poisons in secondhand smoke hurt them more than adults. For more info, go to the Montana Tobacco Quit-line.
Adults need at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as brisk walking) every week, and muscle strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) on two or more days a week. You don’t have to do it all at once. Spread your activity out during the week, and break it into smaller chunks of time during the day. Check out physical activity guidelines here.
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. They are sources of many vitamins, minerals, and other natural substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol. Choose healthy snacks. Check out the Gallatin-City County Health Department’s healthy eating guidelines.
Sometimes stress can be good. However, it can be harmful when it is severe enough to make you feel overwhelmed and out of control. Take care of yourself. Avoid drugs and alcohol. Find support. Connect socially. Stay active. For resources in Gallatin County, go here.
Stay on Top of Your Game
See your doctor or nurse for regular checkups. Certain diseases and conditions may not have symptoms, so checkups help diagnose issues early or before they can become a problem. Pay attention to signs and symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, excessive thirst, and problems with urination. If you have these or symptoms of any kind, be sure to see your doctor right away. Don’t wait! Check out resources for Men’s Health in Gallatin County here.
Keep track of your numbers for blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), or any others you may have. If your numbers are high or low, your doctor or nurse can explain what they mean and suggest how you can get them to a healthier range. Be sure to ask him or her what tests you need and how often you need them.
Get vaccinated. Everyone needs immunizations to stay healthy, no matter how old you are. Even if you had vaccines as a child, immunity can fade with time. Vaccine recommendations are based on a variety of factors, including age, overall health, and your medical history. Vaccines can protect you, your loved ones, and your community from serious diseases like: influenza (flu); shingles; pneumococcal disease; human papillomavirus (HPV) infection; and tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whopping cough)–all three of which the Tdap shot protects against. Other vaccinations you may need include those that protect against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox (varicella), measles, mumps, and rubella. Ask your doctor or nurse which vaccines you need to stay healthy. Check out Immunization clinics through the Gallatin City-County Health Department.
Get Health Insurance
Federally funded health centers around the United States provide care, even if you have no health insurance. You can get health care and pay what you can afford, based on your income. Check out Health Insurance information through the new Affordable Care Act here.
For more information and resources for Men’s Health in Gallatin County, go here.
For more information about Men’s Health Month, go here.