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Promoting men’s health

Men’s health is in many ways linked to women’s health. While the life expectancy gap between men and women has decreased, it's no secret that men still need to pay more attention to their bodies. Several things work against men. They tend to smoke and drink more, and they don't seek medical help as often as women.

Men are more likely to make unhealthy or risky choices, and put off regular check-ups. And some men define themselves by their careers, which can add to stress-related diseases.

Men are uniquely predisposed to some health conditions, mainly related to circulating testosterone levels. These include prostate cancer and some heart conditions. Many of the major health risks that men face can be prevented and treated with early diagnosis. It’s never too late for men to start taking better care of their health. Make eating healthy and being active a part of your daily routine. A healthy diet and regular physical activity can help lower your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels and body mass index (BMI).By keeping these numbers down, you can lower your risk of serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease.

And men too, like women, should be aware of commonly available screening tests. Screenings tests identify potential diseases before any symptoms appear. If a disease is found early, appropriate measures can be instituted. Some diseases are curable if detected very early.Discuss with your doctor about screening tests that are right for you. Personalized tests should be based on prevailing health, personal characteristics and family history. Screening tests are available for blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes, sexual health and certain cancers.

Can women help out? Yes, by encouraging their male partners to seek out healthy behaviour. Point out the connection between good health and family life, all coupled with performance at work and other activities. Create an exercise routine that involves and is enjoyable for both of you.Recruit male friends or relatives with good health habits to help reinforce lifestyle messages. Remind him that his children will be influenced by the example he sets when forming lifelong health habits. And if disease symptoms are apparent, encourage the males in your life to get medical attention promptly.

But men must take action themselves. Drink alcohol only in moderation, and quit smoking. Feel free to talk about concerns on your health with family members. Make small changes every day, they will all add up to better health. Walk instead of smoking, order salads in place of fries, ask for water in place of carbonated or alcoholic drinks.Finally, ask your doctor about preventive medicines like daily aspirin or appropriate vaccines.

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