It’s June, the month that we bring awareness to the specific issues that affect the health of men. If you’re like most of my male patients, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about your health. As men, it’s easy to wait until something is really wrong before we head to the doctor. We can do better than that though guys! Here are 5 simple things that can be done to give you all the info you’ll need to stay healthy and prevent chronic illness.
Get an ultrasound of your carotid artery, also called a CIMT – All men over 40 need to have a baseline CIMT done to determine the health of your arteries and heart. Men with a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and who use tobacco should get one as well. The reason for this scan is simple: Early detection of heart disease. Heart disease is still the #1 cause of death in the US and for 65% of the population, the first sign of heart disease is a fatal heart attack. Knowing that there is heart disease developing will allow you to put a plan in place to stabilize and improve your heart’s health.
Ask your doctor for advanced lipid testing – Do you think you know your cholesterol level? Are you on cholesterol lowering medication and think you’re protected because your numbers are in the “normal” range? Did you know that over 50% of all heart attacks occur in individuals with “normal” cholesterol numbers? We’re clearly missing something when it comes to cholesterol testing and that’s because we’re using very outdated testing. Simply measuring only total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and Triglycerides, which I’m sure is very familiar to most of you, is NOT enough. Fortunately there is an alternative in advanced lipid testing. This type of testing looks not only at the standard markers, but also includes many more aspects of cholesterol production and offers a much clearer picture of someone’s risks of heart disease and other chronic conditions. I use Cleveland Heart Lab as the provider of my advanced lipid panel.
Reduce sugar intake – Simply put, we eat too much sugar in our society. From things like soda, candy, cookies, and refined carbohydrates, never before have we been exposed to so much on a daily basis. Sugar consumption leads to blood sugar problems like diabetes, contributes significantly to the development of high blood pressure, and has even been implicated in cancer development and growth. Reducing sugar will have a dramatic effect on energy levels, libido, weight, and sleep.
Support your prostate – As we get older it is not uncommon to develop prostate problems. Symptoms include urinary difficulty, dribbling after urination, waking multiple times during the night to urinate, and diminished sexual function. The prostate health is related to hormone balance which is impacted by stress, liver function, diet, and even heart health. Understanding your hormone levels and supporting proper production and elimination of hormones will ensure a healthy prostate. I do this all time in my practice and the Herbs and supplements I commonly use include Saw Palmetto, Nettle root, Pygeum, and Zinc. Eating pumpkin seeds can also be helpful.
Move your body – In an age of convenience it is easy not to move as much as we should. Sitting has become the new normal and researchers are warning that the long term health effects of sitting, while not known now, will likely be shown to be extremely detrimental to our health. This is why daily movement of our body in the form of walking, cycling, swimming, running, weight lifting, etc. is so important. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of time doing it. 20 -30 minutes daily has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve mood, and prevent disease. So find something that you like to do and get out there. Remember, move it or lose it!