National Men’s Health Week, June 11-17, 2012.
Improving men's health starts at home with individuals and families taking steps to live safer and healthier lives.
Make Health a Daily Routine
Make healthy living a part of your daily routine. There are numerous things you can do every day to improve your health and stay healthy. Many of which don't take a lot of time and cost very little.
Get Enough Sleep
Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Also, insufficient sleep is responsible for motor vehicle and machinery-related accidents, causing substantial injury and disability each year. Sleep guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation have noted that sleep needs change as we age. However, there is no "magic number" as individual sleep needs vary. In general adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep.
Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Inhaling other people's smoke causes health problems similar to those of smokers. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits. Within 20 minutes after smoking that last cigarette, your body begins a series of positive changes that continue for years.
Be Physically Active
Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Include activities that raise your breathing and heart rates and that strengthen your muscles. You don't have to do it all at once. Spread your activity out during the week, and break it into smaller chunks of time during the day.
Eat What Counts
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol. Choose healthy snacks.
Pay Attention to Signs and Symptoms
Discharge? Excessive thirst? Rash or sore? Problems with urination? Shortness of breath? These are only a few of the symptoms that males should pay attention to and see a doctor if they occur. If you have symptoms of any kind, be sure to see your doctor right away.
Need Affordable Healthcare?
Health services for those with no or low health coverage are available through federally-funded health centers, where the fee is based on what you are able to pay.
Get Your Check-Ups
Just because you may feel fine doesn't mean you don't need your annual check-up. Certain diseases and conditions may not have symptoms, so check-ups help diagnose issues early or before they can become a problem. See your doctor or nurse for regular check-ups.
Adults need vaccines, too. Even if you had vaccines as a child, immunity can fade with time. Whether a young, middle-aged, or older adult, we all need immunizations to keep us healthy. Vaccines can protect you and the people close to you from serious diseases like:
- Influenza (the flu)
- Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough)—the Tdap shot protects against all 3
- Shingles (for adults 60 years and older)
- Pneumococcal disease (for adults 65 years and older and adults with specific health conditions)
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection (for men up through age 26 who may be at high risk—ask your doctor)
Other vaccinations you may need include those that protect against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox (varicella), measles, mumps, and rubella. Ask your doctor which vaccines you need to stay healthy!
Know and Understand Your Numbers
Keep track of your numbers for blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), or any others you may have. These numbers can provide a glimpse of your health status and risk for certain diseases. Be sure to ask your doctor or nurse what tests you need and how often you need them. If your numbers are high or low, he or she can explain what they mean and make recommendations to help you get them to a healthier range.
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