Posted on June 15, 2020
This year, National Men’s Health Week is June 15 – June 21, the week leading up to Father’s Day. The week serves as a reminder for men to take steps to be healthier and that they don’t have to do it alone! Whether it is your husband, partner, dad, brother, son, or friend you can help support the health and safety of the men in your life.
Set an Example with Healthy Habits
One great way to support the men in your life is by developing healthy habits and encouraging them to make healthy choices as well:
- Eat healthy. Include a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Fruits and vegetables have many vitamins and minerals that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Whole grains help lower cholesterol levels and reduce chronic inflammation, which has been linked to cancer and heart disease. Reducing chronic inflammation inside the body may also help to control blood pressure. Be sure to limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol.
- Get regular exercise. Physical activity can help control your weight and reduce your risk of heart disease and some cancers. In addition, even mild exercise makes you feel better. It helps improve your mental health and mood. Encourage him to exercise with you; take a walk around the neighborhood or do some work in the yard. Adults need at least 2½ hours of physical activity each week.
- Quit smoking. And encourage the men in your life to stop smoking too. We know that quitting smoking immediately reduces your risk of cancer and lung and heart disease. It also cuts lowers the health risks caused by secondhand smoke for those around you.
- Learn to de-stress. Life is stressful. Men often have trouble putting their feelings into words, making them more vulnerable to the negative effects of stress, which can be physical or emotional. Help the men in your life learn ways to manage stress such as finding support, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
Remind Men to Get Regular Checkups
Encourage the men in your life to have regular check-ups and to learn about their family health history.
- Prepare for doctor’s visit. Encourage him to write down any medical problems he might be having as well as the names and the dosages of any medications he is taking. Give a copy of this list to the nurse so she can add it to his medical records.
- Understand family health history. We all need to understand our family health history which is a record of the diseases and health conditions in our own families. It is helpful to talk with family members about health history, write this information down, and update it from time to time.
Know the Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack
Heart disease is the number one killer of men in America, and every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a heart attack. It is important to be able to recognize the signs of a heart attack, and if someone you know is having them, to call 911 immediately. Major signs of a heart attack include:
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back
- Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder
- Shortness of breath
Encourage Men to Seek Help for Depression
Depression affects many men and is one of the leading causes of disease or injury worldwide for both men and women. Because men who are depressed may appear to be angry or aggressive instead of sad, their families, friends, and even their doctors may not always recognize the anger or aggression as depression symptoms. Learn to recognize the signs of depression and encourage the men in your life to recognize and discuss them and seek treatment if necessary.
- Signs of depression include persistent sadness or grumpiness, feeling hopeless or tired, having decreased energy, and thoughts of suicide.
- Those that suffer from depression or anxiety should seek help as early as possible. If you or someone you care about is in crisis, please seek help immediately.
- Call 911
- Visit a nearby emergency department or your health care provider’s office
- Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor