Being a father means being responsible not only for the family’s health but for your own. Most men realize the importance of diet and exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle and try to fit both into their daily lives. Living up to the ideal by eating healthful foods and following a regular fitness routine makes sense, but being aware of the potential dangers that could affect overall health also matters. Many of the top 10 threats to men’s health may be preventable by heeding the precautionary advice recommended from health professionals.
1. Heart Disease: One of the biggest threats to a man’s health comes from heart disease issues which could be fatal if not treated. Many men are unaware that they are at risk unless a close family member such as a father died from the disease at an early age. The normal progression for heart disease happens gradually as arteries become clogged over time. This slow process accelerates if smoking, weight gain, high pressure and stress come into play. Good advice for fathers who want to see their kids graduate from college: don’t smoke, exercise and find ways to relax more often.
2. High Blood Pressure: The biggest risk from high blood pressure other than heart disease is stroke. A condition that could be debilitating for life, strokes can often be prevented if blood pressure is controlled. If a stroke does occur, getting to the hospital immediately is vital. Don’t let a stroke ruin your life and monitor blood pressure regularly, reduce sodium in the diet and exercise.
3. Cancer: Although cancer may not always be preventable, there are ways to keep the disease in check. Having a periodic colonoscopy, reviewing family history and having regular physicals will help detect cancer at early stages. Lung cancer can be prevented by not smoking.
4. Urinary Disease and Impotence: A frightening prospect for most men, issues with the prostrate are common but can be controlled. A simple PSA blood test should be performed after age 50 or if any symptoms occur.
5. Loss of Muscle Tone and the “potbelly syndrome”: Not a medical term but every man dreads the day when the belly gets out of control. Excessive weight gain may lead to obesity and could become difficult to control if let go. This health threat usually is easier to manage than others by changing diet, adding more physical activity with exercises that strengthen muscle tone. Try talking to a trainer at the local gym for recommendations.
6. Sports Injuries: Trying to bend and turn the way we did at age 18 may lead to serious injuries. Go out and have fun but be sensible.
7. Joint Problems: Injuries to the joints including knees and hips may require immediate attention, but deterioration of the tissues becomes a factor as men age. The strain put on the joints over time often leads to the need for replacement surgery. Fortunately, new technology has improved the results.
8. Back Issues: Many men begin to experience back problems from degenerated discs or spinal injuries. Doing exercises to strengthen the back helps prevent chronic back pain that makes everyday living less than fun.
9. Fatigue: Lack of energy may occur from a poor diet, not enough sleep or a lethargic lifestyle. Increase stamina by adding more vigorous activity and reevaluate the daily routine.
10. Depression: Every man feels down occasionally; a bad day at the office or a disagreement within the family may cause a temporary feeling of depression. When the condition becomes chronic, however, it’s time to face the cause and find a solution. For serious depression, medication relieves the symptoms and prevents the loss of a relationship or attempted suicide. Men with less severe issues may find that altering a routine, changing jobs or limiting alcohol consumption helps get them back on track and into a positive state of mind.
Medical professionals continually report that a good diet, exercise and eliminating stress provides the basic formula for a healthy lifestyle. Add those factors to regular medical checkups and awareness about potential health threats and the family can be reassured that Dad will be around for many years.