INDIANAPOLIS—Benjamin Franklin may have put it best when he said, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Getting sufficient sleep, as well as good nutrition, exercise, appropriate health screenings and avoiding tobacco are all important components of maintaining health and wellness for men. June is Men’s Health Month and State health officials are encouraging Hoosier men to talk with their doctors about staying healthy. The centerpiece of the month, Men’s Health Week, begins June 10 and leads up to Father’s Day, June 16.
“Men’s Health Week and Month are observed to raise awareness among men about the importance of disease prevention and early disease detection and treatment,” said Indiana State Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Joan Duwve, M.D. “Routine health screenings can detect diseases in their earliest, most treatable stages.”
The leading causes of death among men nationwide are: heart disease, cancer and unintentional injuries like falls, prescription drug abuse or motor vehicle accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death among Indiana men and affects all racial and ethnic groups.
Heart disease is the number one preventable cause of death among Hoosier men, but it doesn’t have to be,” said Dr. Duwve. “Although there are risk factors that run in families, the link between diet and exercise and cardiovascular disease is very strong. Eating a healthy diet full of fresh vegetables and fruits and avoiding processed foods, especially those containing large amounts of salt, sugar and saturated fats is a good first step to reducing your risk of heart disease. Avoid tobacco-containing products and add some physical activity, like a walk, jog or bike ride into the day and you can even further decrease your risk for many chronic diseases, including heart disease.”
Excluding skin cancers, prostate is the most prevalent cancer among males. Lung cancer, including bronchus, and colon cancer are the next most common. Lung cancer is responsible for most cancer-related deaths among men, according to the 2010 Indiana State Department of Health Mortality Report. That year, 2,299 Indiana men died as a result of lung cancer as compared to 1,789 Indiana women. Among males of all ages combined in Indiana, unintentional injuries were responsible for 1,564 deaths in 2010.
Health officials recommend the following for staying healthy:
· Get sufficient sleep. In general, adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
· Visit a health care provider for regular checkups and to schedule appropriate screenings.
· Ensure vaccinations are current by checking with your health care provider.
· Manage stress through physical activity, meditation, and staying connected socially. If you are having trouble managing stress or have signs of depression, seek professional help.
· Only take prescription drugs as directed by your physician.
· Avoid tobacco products. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits. It improves your health and lowers your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses.
· Get at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity five days a week and include strength training activities two or more days a week.
· Have your blood pressure checked yearly and your cholesterol checked at least once every five years.
The observance of National Men’s Health Month also provides an opportunity for Hoosiers to learn about INShape Indiana, which challenges individuals to eat better, move more and avoid tobacco. To learn more about INShape Indiana, visit: www.inshapeindiana.org/. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to speak with a trained tobacco cessation quit coach at no cost.
More information on men’s health is available by visiting the Men’s Health Network at www.MensHealthMonth.org or CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/men/nmhw/.
To visit the Indiana State Department of Health online, go to www.StateHealth.in.gov.