Many men need to do a better job of looking after their health, and it only takes a few simple steps, experts say.
“It’s common for men to avoid going to the doctor until there’s a serious health concern,” said Dr. James Heckman, a primary care physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “Staying healthy may just be a matter of changing habits.”
Those habits start with regular doctor visits.
“Seeing your doctor regularly means that you have a baseline for important screenings,” Heckman said in a medical center news release. “This includes everything from cholesterol to cancer screenings and osteoporosis.”
Then, make sure you’re eating right. A diet low in fat and high in fruits and vegetables can help lower the risk of certain cancers, including prostate cancer.
“For good prostate health, eat your fruits and veggies,” Dr. Aria Olumi, chief of urologic surgery at Beth Israel, said in the news release.
Don’t smoke. Along with harming your heart and lungs, smoking is linked with roughly half of all bladder cancers.
“Bladder cancer risk factors like age, gender, race and family history can’t be controlled,” Olumi said. “But quitting smoking can definitely lower your risk.”
Get enough sleep. That means at least seven hours a night.
And remember that mental health is connected to physical health. Protect it. Mental illness affects both men and women, but men may be less likely to talk about their feelings and get help.
“Mental health symptoms often appear to be physical issues — like a racing heart, tightening chest, ongoing headaches or digestive issues,” Heckman said. “Talking to a professional or a loved one about stress or other challenges can be very helpful.”
The U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has more on men’s health.