We know the saying: Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus and this certainly rings true! What about when it comes to physical health? Studies have shown that from childhood to old age, women are healthier than men. According to WebMD, "out of the 15 leading causes of death, men lead women in all of them except Alzheimer's disease, which many don't live long enough to develop. Although the gender gap is closing, men still die five years earlier than their wives, on average." While biology plays a large part, men's lifestyle choices are certainly to blame too...
Compared to women, men are also less likely to go to the doctor (perhaps due to their roles in society as being in 'good health' rather than taking decisive and positive steps towards making healthier life choices in general). If you're male and reading this - it's therefore important to know what risks YOU could be facing and what you can do to prevent them!
Men's Health Risk #1 – Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease is a global health concern for both men and women, but studies reveal (the reasons of which are as yet unclear) that men are prone to developing atherosclerosis earlier than women. On average men die from cardiovascular disease under the age of 65, which research has shown is around six years earlier than women as explained by Darwin Labarthe, director of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).
There is also the common misconception that only older, overweight men suffering from high blood pressure and cholesterol levels are at risk of cardiovascular disease but this is not true! Even relatively fit and healthy younger men can also be at risk. Ilan Wittstein, M.D., an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart Institute points that even men in their 40s are seeking their doctor's help due to heart problems that are largely self-inflicted. Spokesperson for the American Heart Association, Richard A. Stein, also explains that "in half of the cases of heart attacks, the heart attack is the first time the patient finds out about heart disease."
- Be informed and aware of major risk factors! These include high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and/or a history of family heart disease.
- Get regularly checked-up. It's important to get yourself checked up on a regular basis at your GP. If you are in the risk factor category mentioned in the previous point, then a check up with a preventative cardiologist is a good idea.
- Change your lifestyle habits! Your lifestyle choices are things you are in control of and by making better decisions for your health you will be giving yourself the best chance of living a disease-free life! This includes no smoking, limiting your alcohol consumption, exercising regularly – join a sports club to help keep your physically motivated to stay fit, eating well (your supermarket shop should consist 2/3 of fresh produce especially dark leafy greens and other vegetables, fruit, nuts, beans, fresh fish and lean meats) and looking after your stress levels.
The latter is particularly important – never take the effects stress has on your body for granted! Take up relaxation exercises such as meditation, yoga or tai chi.
- Never ignore cardiac symptoms – if you ever feel pain in your chest or shortness of breath from exertion (that seems out of the ordinary or particularly unusual), seek your doctor out straight away!
- Explore your treatment options for supporting heart health – there are many natural alternatives available including well-respected and researched herbal ingredients that have shown to support cardiovascular health. Herbs such as Hawthorn, Passiflora, Guelder Rose Bark and Ginkgo Biloba are well known for supporting the health of the heart including the blood vessels, oxygenation of the heart, the pumping action of the heart and circulation.
These herbs are principle ingredients in our High-Rite remedy – formulated for addressing hypertension, blood pressure control and overall-cardiovascular health.
Men's Health Risk #2 – Lung Cancer
While both men and women can be at risk of developing this disease men have been found to be more at risk, becoming more vulnerable to developing this disease the older they get with 90% of cases can attributed to smoking alone! While stricter smoking regulations are helping to reduce the number of men being diagnosed with lung cancer, it is still the leading cause of cancer deaths in men. As there is as yet, no effective screen test available that can detect early signs of lung cancer, the best approach is using preventative measures, which means STOP SMOKING TODAY!
Smoking is by far one of the hardest addictions to break but with the right frame of mind and effective tools to help you enjoy living a smoke-free life you can break the habit for good. Michele Carelse, Clinical Psychologist and director of Feelgood Health, shares her knowledge and experience as an ex-smoker that has not only helped her kick the habit but many of her clients and our customers too!
Find out more about our 8-Week Stop Smoking Program and take the steps to become a healthier, revitalized you.
Men's Health Risk #3 – Prostate Cancer
Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in men – and one that men can lay claim to all by themselves. The prostate, a walnut-sized gland located behind the penis that secretes fluid for ejaculation, is very prone to developing problems as men age. All men can be vulnerable to developing prostate cancer, which is why being aware of the risk factors involved goes along way to preventing onset of the disease.
- Diet: It goes without saying that diet plays a critical role in all areas of health. Studies reveal that men whose diet consists of a lot of red meat and diary products and very little fruit and vegetables can be more prone to developing the disease although the reason for this is as yet not clear. In addition to adopting a well-balanced nutrition-rich diet, other lifestyle factors are also important include stopping smoking, healthy weight levels and regular exercise.
- Age: Although prostate cancer is very rare among men under 40 years of age this quickly increases for those 50 years and older.
- Infection and inflammation of the prostate: although evidence is as yet no conclusive, some studies have indicated the prostatitis may lead to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Family history: Find out if your family has a history of prostate cancer. Research has shown men whose close family relatives such as a father or brother have developed the disease are more at risk of prostate cancer themselves.
If there is a history of prostate cancer in your family or you are worried you are at risk it's important to get yourself regularly checked by your doctor, making sure you thoroughly explore your options. There is a lot of controversy over whether or not screening tests for prostate cancer is a viable option. This controversy stems from screening tests detecting cancers that would never be fatal, even if left undetected but then the aggressive treatment methods thereafter that can yield damaging results such as incontinence and impotence.
There are numerous other treatments options that work safely and effectively in supporting the health of the prostate, such as herbal remedies.
Remember, if you have the basics in place (and you know what they are!) your body, mind and spirit will benefit from good health for a long time to come no matter your gender!
"The best six doctors anywhere
And no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest, and air
Exercise and diet.
These six will gladly you attend
If only you are willing
Your mind they'll ease
Your will they'll mend
And charge you not a shilling."
- Wayne Fields