Mens Health How to Prevent The Biggest Threats as You Get Older

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has plenty of statistics when it comes to leading causes of death for men and women at various ages. There are plenty of illnesses that tend to affect older men that can negatively impact your quality of life and prematurely end your life. While unintentional injuries make up a large percentage of deaths among younger men, degenerative diseases such as cancer and heart disease make up the lion’s share of the reasons for debilitation and death among men in their 50s, 60s and beyond.

We all know that we can’t hold off the Grim Reaper forever, but there are some basic, commonsense things we can do to forestall the loss of quality of life and delay the end of life. There are other illnesses that threaten mens health as we age, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stroke, kidney disease and Alzheimer’s, but the risk for many of these should be diminished by doing many of the same things that reduce your risk of contracting heart disease or various forms of cancer.

The Special Health Threat of Smoking

If you don’t smoke, then you’re already head and shoulders better off than anyone who does as far as your chances of getting any number of fatal illnesses. Despite the fact that only 16 out of every 100 adult men smoke, they are predominantly responsible for making lung cancer the leading type of cancer that kills men. While lung cancer is the disease most commonly associated with smoking, it also increases your risk for heart disease, various other cancers, type 2 diabetes, stroke and a number of other potentially fatal illnesses and conditions.

Diet and Exercise

Most of us already know what to do to reduce our chances of getting a common major illness, but it’s simply a problem of it being easier said than done. The first step is getting plenty of sleep and eating a healthy lifestyle diet. Without these two essentials in place, you aren’t going to have the energy to do the other recommended action of getting regular exercise. As far as a healthy diet is concerned, you should be getting plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as lean protein and whole grains for fiber.

Accompanying the above dietary suggestions with at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week will help you maintain a healthy weight, blood pressure, and optimal cholesterol and blood sugar levels. If you don’t feel you can take the time for a workout during hectic weeks, just find a way to incorporate additional physical activity into your regular routine. If it doesn’t take much longer to get to work, then try biking there a couple of times a week instead of driving. Also, bring healthy snacks with you when you leave the house, so you won’t be dependent on random vending machines or fast food offerings.

Regular Medical Checkups

It’s hard, if not impossible, to measure your progress toward any goal without statistics that you can track. A doctor will provide you with many of these stats when you go for annual medical checkups. They’ll take your blood pressure, measure your cholesterol, and perform other tests to give you a picture of your current health. Some of these stats you can also get more often. For instance, regularly checking your weight is as simple as buying a good scale, and many drug stores and even supermarkets have blood pressure measuring machines typically near their pharmacy.

Even if you check many of these health numbers on your own, you should still go to your doctor regularly since they may tell you if you have contracted a condition you need to start addressing. A large part of the better health outcomes associated with various cancers today is due to earlier detection and prevention. For one example, the number of cured cases of prostate cancer has gone up over the years thanks to more medical exams including prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing.

Other Threats to Mens Health

There are, of course, some factors not mentioned above that present serious threats to mens health. Sadly, an increasing one of these for middle-aged men is suicide. This provides a powerful basis for moving beyond actions to improve your physical health by including some to address your mental health as well. Of course, these two things are related. People who eat right and exercise regularly generally feel better about themselves and their lives because they know they’re taking steps to live the fullest and longest life they can. Mental conditions, such as depression, can impede your desire to take care of yourself, though, so these sometimes need to be addressed before other factors.

Be an Example Rather Than a Warning for Friends and Family

If you have a family or a decent number of friends, you may also want to consider the saying that “everybody’s life is either a warning or an example.” Especially if you have children, they tend to do what their parents do rather than what they say. You need to get them started on the path to a healthy and vibrant life by not letting them see the ultimate authority figure in their lives doing things such as smoking or wasting away on a couch watching TV all the time. When you start proactively taking steps to stave off negative mental and physical health problems, you feel better, provide a better example for loved ones and live a life you can be proud of.