Men’s Health Month: Preventing top threats

Male College StudentInformation courtesy of Mayo Clinic

Do you know the greatest threats to men’s health? The list is surprisingly short — and prevention pays off.

Not sure what you should be getting checked? View the Men’s Health Checklist from Men’s Health Network.

Threat No. 1: Heart disease

Heart disease is a leading men’s health threat. Take charge of heart health by making healthier lifestyle choices. For example:

Don’t smoke. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, ask your doctor to help you quit. It’s also important to avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.

Eat a healthy diet. Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods and lean sources of protein, such as fish. Limit foods high in saturated fat and sodium.

  • Not sure how to eat right, or need help developing a plan that works best for you? Contact SHCC Nutrition Services for an appointment.

Manage chronic conditions. If you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations. If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar under control.

  • Always let your SHCC healthcare provider know of any current medical conditions and medications, including vitamins and supplements, as new treatments/medications must always be weighed against current treatments/medications.

Include physical activity in your daily routine. Choose sports or other activities you enjoy, from basketball to brisk walking.

  • Need exercise ideas? Check out the wide variety of activities available through RecSports.

Maintain a healthy weight. Extra pounds increase the risk of heart disease.

Limit alcohol. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. Too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure.

  • Learn tips and tricks on how to party safely via GatorWell.

Manage stress. If you feel constantly on edge or under assault, your lifestyle habits may suffer. Take steps to reduce stress — or learn to deal with stress in healthy ways.

Threat No. 2: Cancer

Various types of cancer are of particular concern to men, including lung cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. To reduce the risk of cancer, consider these general tips:

Don’t smoke. Using any type of tobacco puts you on a collision course with cancer. Avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke counts, too.

Maintain a healthy weight. Losing excess pounds — and keeping them off — may lower the risk of various types of cancer.

Get moving. In addition to helping you control your weight, physical activity on its own may lower the risk of certain types of cancer.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Although making healthy selections at the grocery store and at mealtime can’t guarantee cancer prevention, it may help reduce your risk.

Protect yourself from the sun. When you’re outdoors, cover up and use plenty of sunscreen.

  • Learn how to best protect your skin from damage and why tanning should be avoided via the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Limit alcohol. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. The risk of various types of cancer — including cancer of the colon, lung, kidney and liver — increases with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time you’ve been drinking regularly.

Take early detection seriously. Consult your doctor for regular cancer screenings.

Threat No. 3: Accidents

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of fatal accidents among men. To stay safe on the road, use common sense. Wear your seat belt. Follow the speed limit. Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or any other substances, and don’t drive while sleepy.