Men—It’s your month to get checked out
Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 4, 2022
Attention focuses on men in June, not just to celebrate Father’s Day, but also to call attention to steps they can take to live their healthiest life.
What better way to honor fathers and other men in our lives than by encouraging them to take care of themselves! June 17, the Friday before Father’s Day, is “Wear Blue Friday.” So pin on blue ribbons and encourage men to practice healthy living.
Ways to Celebrate Men’s Health Month
Instead of a coffee mug or tie for Father’s Day, give your dad, husband, son or male friend gifts that encourage them to eat better, exercise more and stay healthy.
- Dietary changes—When menus call for grilling, replace red meat with poultry, fish and vegetables. This is also a good time to cut back on alcohol.
- More exercise—Golf balls, gym memberships, running shoes or a new bicycle are excellent gift ideas for motivating someone to get moving.
- Health and wellness reminders—As men tend to overlook or procrastinate about routine health screenings, create a health calendar or chart for them. Download a checklist at Men’s Health Network or a guide from Consumer Reports.
Know the Facts
Cancer and cardiovascular disease account for nearly 90 percent of deaths in Louisiana, among men and women. COVID also rose near the top of diseases cutting life expectancy short in the state. Getting vaccinated and boosted helps protect you.
Overall, men live “sicker” and shorter lives than women, particularly in Louisiana where the average life expectancy for a male is 73.1 years, nearly six years less than his female counterpart. According to a Measure of America 2020 study, statistics are even more alarming for Black men. On average, you can expect to live to 69.5 years, two years less than Black men as a whole in the U.S.
Before packing up and leaving the state, where our fun-loving culture and love of food can sometimes impact our health, make a few lifestyle adjustments instead.
Changes in diet and exercise can help men shed extra pounds that increase risks. Replace junk food with healthy meals. Limit red meat, salt and saturated fats; add more fish, grains, fruits and green, leafy vegetables. Replace sodas and sweet tea with unsweetened tea and water.
A key to staying healthy is to keep moving. Exercise is great for your heart; it helps to lose excess weight; and it can calm your mind. Find an activity you enjoy, so you’re more likely to stick with it. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. In addition to our Fitness Center, we recently opened our new Sports Complex. Offering new opportunities to get and stay fit outdoors, the Sports Complex is situated on nearly 12 acres and offers a multi-purpose track and field, beach volleyball courts, basketball, tennis facility and even a recreational pond. Memberships are available. To learn more, call our Fitness Center at 985.493.4950.
If you smoke, stop. If you need help, ask for it. Talk with your doctor about the Quit Smoking for Life cessation program or call 985-449-4686.
It’s Time to See the Doctor
Men, particularly ages 40 to 64, should visit your health care provider regularly. Along with keeping a check on your blood pressure, heart rate and other vitals, during preventive visits doctors also screen for such conditions as:
- Lung cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Skin cancer
If you need a doctor, you can find a primary care physician with on our website. Just go to the Thibodaux.com and click on “Find a Doctor” in the main navigation.
Additionally, you should visit the dentist once or twice a year and have your eyes checked every one to three years. Stay up to date on immunizations including:
- Annual flu shot and COVID booster
- Shingles vaccine at age 50
- Pneumococcal vaccine at 65
- Tetanus-diphtheria booster every 10 years
- HPV vaccine for males under 26
Make Mental Health Priority
Not surprisingly men are less likely to seek help for depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. If you are struggling, talk with your doctor about symptoms such as increased irritability or anger, mood changes, or feelings of sadness or hopelessness.
Take charge of your mental health, and don’t be embarrassed to speak out. If you’re suffering mentally, so is your overall health.
Katie Richard, MA, BSN, RN, is the education and training coordinator for Thibodaux Regional Wellness Education Center. For more information on health and wellness services, contact Thibodaux Regional Wellness Education Center, 985.493.4765.