The two leading causes of death in males are heart disease and cancer. Combined, these factors make up 50 percent of male deaths. The National Institute of Health indicates that, in addition to genetic factors, heart disease can be brought on by unhealthy lifestyle factors, such as smoking and being overweight, which can also lead to high blood pressure and diabetes.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are many things men can do each day to improve their health. Small daily changes, over time, can make a big impact on overall health.
- Sleep. Adults need a minimum of seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Getting enough sleep helps to balance the hormones that control hunger, resulting not only in increased energy, but the ability to make better food choices the next day.
- Diet. Studies show that increasing daily intake of fruits and vegetables can help fight off certain types of cancer. Protein is an important component of a healthy diet for men. Try to select lean protein from chicken, fish and eggs.
- Exercise. The CDC recommends that men exercise for at least two and a half hours per week. Adding just a small amount of exercise helps to reduce risk of heart disease!
- Quit Smoking. The benefits to your health from quitting smoking are immeasurable, with perhaps the most significant being the reduced risk of lung cancer and heart disease.
Many diseases in men develop slowly over long periods of time and may not be identified without regular screenings.
- It is important for men to have an annual physical exam. This should include a prostate and reproductive health exam, which can identify certain types of cancers specific to men.
- The American Heart Association recommends that men age 20 and over should have their cholesterol checked every five years to ensure normal range.
- The annual physical exam is also a good time to bring up any concerns with your primary care physician. Keeping a list of any questions you may have is one way to make the most out of your appointment.