November is here, and along with colder weather, you may begin to see men grow some extra facial hair to help bring awareness to men’s health issues. I’d like to hit that topic head on and discuss what I see in the Physical Therapy clinic and provide a few recommendations.
It’s not a myth that men tend to avoid health care. As a result, men also have a life expectancy of six years less than their female counterparts. I tend to see primarily orthopaedic injuries/post operative patients. With men, the recovery tends to be more difficult and I often attribute this to avoiding healthcare intervention. When health care is put off, it can result in a more difficult recovery and increased costs.
Men seem to put off surgery/seeking treatment for multiple reasons:
- Not enough time.
- Financial reasons/insurance limitations.
- Fear of procedure/treatment or fear of a potential diagnosis.
- The internal need to “tough it out” and the expectation that a condition will get better with time.
These challenges can be difficult to overcome, but here are my recommendations for men looking to take better control of their health:
- Seek preventive health care. This includes your yearly wellness visits, immunizations and appropriate screenings. Not sure what screenings you need at your age? Check out this article.
- Eat a healthy diet and practice healthy living. Eat more lean protein, fruits/vegetables and whole grains. Eat less processed food and food that is high in fats and sugars. Stop smoking (Click here to learn more about how smoking’s affects your heart) and limit your alcohol intake (Click here to learn more about how alcohol affects your heart).
- Exercise! Moderate exercises for 30 minutes per day can help prevent a magnitude of diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, depression, and some types of cancer. When you exercise, you should be slightly out of breath and your body temperature will increase. However, you shouldn’t have pain, be lightheaded or struggle to catch your breath.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. (Click here for 10 ways to get a better night’s sleep).
- Set healthy goals and reward yourself when you reach a milestone to stay motivated!
If you have a health care concern, seek care. Put life back into your years, not just added years onto your life!