Men who live full, action-packed lives are also usually men who take good care of themselves. At the very least, all men should make an effort to stay healthy. This includes avoiding health mistakes that can put them at risk of developing chronic diseases.
By avoiding the following six health errors, men can increase the likelihood of enjoying a healthy, long life.
1. Not getting regular checkups
Men don’t exactly jump at the chance to visit the doctor. But the path to healthier living starts by getting over the reluctance to see a physician. Regular check-ups will provide primary care physicians with the necessary data to determine risks for heart disease, including readings on blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Most people with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it. Similarly, high blood sugar and high cholesterol levels often do not produce any symptoms until the disease is advanced. This makes the yearly visit to a doctor a must-do if men want to safeguard their most precious commodity: their health.
Men who forego sunscreen increase their risk of skin cancer
2. Believing a heart attack or stroke won’t happen to them
When men think about the chance of having a heart attack or stroke, they tend to believe it only happens to older men like their dad or granddad. But younger men are at risk too. Men need to know their family heart health history as heart disease runs in the family. If a man’s family has a history of heart disease, he could end up in the emergency room as early in his 30s from a major heart attack. All men should prioritize taking care of their heart. This includes not smoking, eating healthy foods, taking regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy body weight.
3. Ignoring snoring
Men who wake up in a groggy haze, experience frequent morning headaches, suffer from sore throats, feel sleepy in the afternoons, or who have a partner who complains of their “loud snoring,” probably have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It is estimated that 22 million Americans suffer from OSA and, within that group, about two-thirds are men.
More than just annoying the person in bed next to you, OSA is a disorder that can cause a person to stop breathing for a few seconds and is also linked to heart disease and high blood pressure. Any man exhibiting these symptoms needs to see his doctor for a thorough exam and sleep study.
4. Forgetting to slather on sunscreen
Men who forego sunscreen significantly increase their risk of skin cancer. Failing to regularly examine skin could see a spot turn into a serious form of melanoma. The later it is detected, the harder to treat. The majority of people with melanomas are white men over the age of 50. Men who are too cavalier about taking care of their skin may end up fighting for their life if they are diagnosed with the disease.
Younger men are also at risk of heart disease
5. Not seeking help for erectile dysfunction
Discussing erectile dysfunction (ED) with their doctor may be the last thing a man wants to do. But for the sake of his health and happiness, it is important not to avoid it. ED has nothing to with a man’s masculinity and is primarily caused by a lack of blood flow to the penis. Up to 20 million American men suffer from impotence. Men experiencing ED need to put their pride to the side and see their doctor.
6. Turning to alcohol or drugs to feel better
Men are natural born risk-takers. They are more likely to drink excessively and turn to drug use to seek relief from problems they face. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men are two times more likely to binge drink than women and to engage in illicit drug use. Not only does this risky behavior place them at a much higher risk for major health issues but men are also less likely to seek the help they need to break their dependence.
A man must recognize a substance-abuse problem if he is to get the help he needs to gain control of his health and life. The sooner this is addressed, the higher the chance he can be rehabilitated.
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. He is a medical contributor for the Fox News Channel's Medical A-Team. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Pinterest, SamadiMD.com, davidsamadiwiki, davidsamadibio and Facebook.