[Image description: A man stretches outside before going for a run.]
June is Men’s Health Month — a good time to make sure you’re taking steps to protect your physical and mental health. Emphasizing men’s health is well warranted: Men may be more likely than women to smoke, drink too much alcohol, take health risks and delay regular checkups and medical care. There are also health conditions that affect men differently. For example, men are more likely to become dependent on or addicted to alcohol, and they may have different symptoms when they’re depressed. So, it’s important to be aware of ways men can stay healthy, this month and all year round.
Have regular checkups, even if you feel healthy
Some health conditions don’t have symptoms at first — so don’t wait until you’re sick or in pain to see a doctor. When you have regular checkups, your doctor can recommend tests and screenings that can uncover health problems before you have symptoms. Your doctor will also make sure you’re up to date on vaccinations, another important way to prevent illness.
Get care promptly if you don’t feel well
It sounds basic yet 40% of men surveyed on the topic said they’d delay seeking medical care for a few days if they got sick; 17% said they’d wait a week or more. But timely medical attention can make a difference. If your symptoms are serious, such as severe chest pain, shortness of breath, sudden weakness on one side of the body, severe burns or bleeding — call 911 or go to your local emergency room. For health concerns that aren’t as serious but still need quick attention, such as a cough or cold, see a doctor in minutes on LiveHealth Online.
Stay physically active
Getting regular physical activity can help you manage your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and weight. And keeping these important health measures in control can lower your risk for serious issues like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Not a fan of the gym? Find activities you enjoy that keep you moving. Aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (exercise that gets you breathing harder and your heart pumping faster). And twice a week, engage in activities that make your muscles stronger.
Eat for your health
The foods you choose are an important factor not only in managing your weight but also in making sure your body has the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Small changes can add up to a healthier diet — so try these tips when you’re making meals:
- Vegetables: Go for the colorful veggies, like dark green spinach and red and orange peppers
- Fruits: Opt for whole fruits instead of juice for increased fiber
- Grains: Aim for half the grains you eat to be whole-grain varieties
- Dairy: Choose low-fat or fat-free versions of milk, cheese and yogurt
- Proteins: Don’t forget about plant sources like nuts, seeds, beans, peas and soy products
Mental health is men’s health
Men can develop most of the same mental health concerns women do — but their symptoms may be different. For example, while women with depression may seem sad, men with depression may appear angry or aggressive; they may also be more likely to have trouble sleeping. Unfortunately, men are also less likely to see their doctor for emotional symptoms than they are for physical ones. But talking to a therapist can help with a range of problems, including stress, anxiety, depression, grief, relationship issues and substance abuse. And it can give you a supportive, nonjudgmental environment in which to identify your concerns, learn new coping skills and become happier and more productive in your life.
Take advantage of online convenience
If you — or a man you care about — fits the “more likely to delay care” description, online doctor visits can remove some of the obstacles that make care difficult to access. With LiveHealth Online, you can see a doctor 24/7 and there’s no need to make an appointment. Have a visit from the comfort of home, or wherever you happen to be, using a smartphone, tablet or computer.