The Doctor Is In: Men's Health

June is Men's Health Month, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 32% of men over the age of 20 suffer from hypertension, more than 34% are obese, and nearly 18% are smokers. These factors can contribute to serious health complications, including heart disease and cancer, which are the #1 and #2 causes of death among men, respectively.  

One form of cancer frequently affecting men is prostate cancer. Aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States. It is one of the leading causes of cancer death among men of all races.  

Many of the serious health issues men face can be prevented or managed through lifestyle changes. Generally, the earlier men make these lifestyle changes, the better. Men in their 20's and 30's should develop a routine of healthy lifestyle practices. Below are a few suggestions men should consider in order to achieve optimal health.  

Exercise Recommendations 

All adults should avoid inactivity. Some physical activity is better than none, and adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits. 

For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least:  

150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity, or 

75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or 

An equivalence combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.  

For additional and more extensive health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to:  

300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity, or  

150 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or 

An equivalence combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.  

Adults also should do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate- or high-intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days per week. 

Quitting Smoking

About 1 in 6 men smoke. Smoking causes heart disease, cancer, and stroke-the first, second, and fifth leading causes of death among men in the United States. 

Smokers with prostate cancer may be more likely to die from the disease than nonsmokers. 

Smoking cigarettes causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

People with COPD have trouble breathing and slowly start to die from lack of air. 

Approximately 80 percent of COPD deaths are caused by smoking. 

Smokers are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPD than nonsmokers. 

Quitting smoking can: 

Improve night vision and help preserve overall vision.  

lower blood pressure and heart rate almost immediately. Risk of a heart attack declines within 24 hours. 

Greatly reduce the risk of developing cancer. 

Reduce belly fat and reduce risk of diabetes. 

Dietary Considerations 

For optimal health, men should aim for a diet that is low in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars. 

Eating foods with less sodium can reduce the risk of high blood pressure. 

Eating fewer calories from foods high in saturated fat and added sugars can support weight loss and help prevent obesity. 

Half of the grains consumed should be whole grains.  

These help provide a feeling of fullness and key nutrients. 

Drink more water. 

Energy drinks, sports drinks, soda and beer can add an average of 400 calories per day to diet.  

Switching some of these out for water can save those calories and support weight loss. 

Health Screening Recommendations 

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recently revised prostate cancer screening guidelines. All U.S. men between the ages of 55 to 69 should consider PSA screening, after discussing the risks and benefits with their doctor. 

For men ages 40-64 years old: 

Blood pressure checked once per year. 

Cholesterol and heart disease prevention screening every five years.  

Diabetes screening every three years. 

Regular colon cancer screening starting at 45 years old.  

This recommendation was just recently changed from 50 years old to 45 years old.