Men and women have different health risks, respond differently to medications and vary in how often they seek medical care.
Most men need to pay more attention to their health. Compared to women, men are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, make unhealthy or risky choices and put off regular checkups.
Men’s Health Week, celebrated June 13 to 19, highlights the importance of men taking better care of themselves.
One of the first steps is to schedule regular checkups, even if you feel fine. It is important for men to find a health care provider they trust.
Some diseases do not have symptoms, such as high blood pressure, but if they are diagnosed early, they might be easier to treat. Almost one-third of men in the United States have high blood pressure, and more than 50 percent of them are not doing anything to control it.
Another positive step is to make healthier lifestyle choices.
Heart disease is still the No. 1 cause of death for men, and smoking and tobacco use are the highest risk factors. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, quit now and avoid secondhand smoke. You can find resources to help with smoking cessation at www.smokingstopshere.com or by calling 1-800-784-8669.
Other lifestyle factors that influence health are weight, diet and physical activity. They are interconnected; if you eat healthfully and exercise regularly, you are more likely to maintain a healthy weight. Choosing to do so can decrease the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and some types of cancer. They also can influence mood and energy levels and increase fitness and strength.
Eating a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables can help protect you from chronic diseases and help you control your weight. Also include whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats in your daily diet, and limit alcohol intake.
Get moving with daily activities you enjoy. You should aim to get your heart and breathing rates up, but still be able to talk while doing them.
Avoid being the “weekend warrior” who exercises excessively on weekends and is a “couch potato” during the week. That approach to fitness can lead to injuries, which can sideline any physical activity.
Brisk walking is a great start to get you moving.