By Lt. Col. Michael Pelzner, KAHC Deputy Commander for Clinical Services June 5, 2014
FORT LEE, Va. (June 5, 2014) -- June 15-21 is an opportunity to consider the most common ailments that affects men, and the preventative measures guys should practice. By being aware of conditions and diseases that are preventable and taking consistent action, everyone can stay healthier.
Men, in some ways, are less healthy than women. In the eight-out-of-10 leading causes of death, the mortality is higher for males, the Harvard Medical School reports. These include the top three causes of death for both sexes -- heart disease, cancer and stroke.
Men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year; are 22 percent more likely to have neglected their cholesterol tests; and 28 percent more likely to be hospitalized for congestive heart failure. Factors that put men at higher risk may include risky behavior, aggression, alcohol and substance abuse, diet, lack of social networks and lack of routine medical care, according to the report.
The Army Medical Department is transforming from a health care system focused on reacting to disease and injury to a system for health, focused on prevention. The Performance Triad captures three essential categories of preventive needs, namely Activity, Nutrition and Sleep.
Here are a few recommendations:
• Log your weight, activity, calories and sleep to count your way to achieving healthy goals.
• Shoot for half a plate being fruits and vegetables for prevention of diseases to include stroke, Type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and possible heart disease. Eat eight servings a day.
• Maintain a healthy weight and Body Mass Index or at least make sure your waist measures no more than 40 inches. Having a BMI over 25 classifies as being overweight, and having a BMI more than 30 is considered obese. These conditions put men at an increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and other problems.
• Get enough exercise -- 10,000 steps per day and 150 minutes (30 minutes per day) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms). The benefits include controlling weight, reducing risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers as well as Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Exercising regularly strengthens bones and muscles, improves mental health and mood and the ability to do daily activities and prevent falls (if you're an older adult). It increases your chances of living longer.
• Sleep 7-8 hours out of every 24 and maintain a consistent, regular routine.
Individuals should also keep up with recommended health evaluations, including the following:
• Cholesterol: Once you turn 35 (or once you turn 20 if you have risk factors like diabetes, history of heart disease, tobacco use, high blood pressure or BMI of 30 or over), have cholesterol checked regularly. High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.
• Blood Pressure: Have your blood pressure checked every two years.
• Cardiovascular Disease: Beginning at age 45 and through 79, ask your doctor if you should take aspirin every day to help lower your risk of a heart attack.
• Colorectal Cancer: Beginning at age 50 and through age 75, get tested for colorectal cancer.
• Other Cancers: Ask your doctor if you should be tested for prostate, lung, oral, skin, testicular or other cancers.
• Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Talk to your doctor to see whether you should be tested for gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.
• Depression: If you have felt "down" or hopeless during the past two weeks or you have had little interest in doing things you usually enjoy, talk to your doctor about depression.
• Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: If you are between 65- 75 and have smoked 100 or more cigarettes in your lifetime, ask your doctor to screen you for an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
• Diabetes: If your blood pressure is higher than 135/80, ask your doctor to test you for diabetes.
• Tobacco Use: If you smoke or use tobacco, talk to your doctor about quitting. For tips on quitting, visit www.smokefree.gov or www.ucanquit2.org,
Be the best you can be by taking action, even with small steps, to improve your health. Kenner Army Health Clinic will welcome beneficiaries Monday- Friday, June 9-13 with an educational and informational display of men's health information and services available at KAHC or local network partners in the clinic pharmacy waiting area.
For details, contact the Kenner Public Affairs Office at (804) 734-9086 or 734-9186.
Are you up for the challenge? Visit http://armymedicine.mil to choose a health challenge and prove it. Get your family or a group of friends to participate.