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June is Men's Health Month
This June, the Sussex County Division of Health, Office of Public Health Nursing and the Sussex Warren Chronic Disease Coalition are encouraging you to acknowledge Men's Health Month. The purpose of this observance is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among boys and men.
In the United States, about 12% of men aged 18 and older are in "fair" or "poor" health. The leading causes of death for American men are heart disease, cancer and accidents (unintentional injuries) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC). A strong and healthy body and mind provide many health benefits and maintaining healthy habits helps to lower the risk of many diseases.
Whether it's your husband, partner, dad, brother, son or friend you can help support the health and safety of the men in your life.
Learn about some steps men can take each day to improve their health:
Limit stress. Too much stress can be harmful to an individual's health when it makes the person feel overwhelmed and out of control. Using drugs and alcohol during times of high stress is not a healthy way of coping with these feelings. Instead, connect with family or friends, stay active, eat healthy and find support. It is okay to share your feelings and problems with others, ask for help to identify sources of stress and learn new coping tools.
Increase movement. Adults need at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. This can be broken into smaller amounts during the day or spread out throughout the week. Go for a walk, jog or bike ride, get your hands dirty in the garden or join a local gym. Research shows that consistent exercise improves health in many ways including mental health, physical health and disease prevention and/or management.
Start healthier eating habits. A healthy eating pattern can help to lower your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and weight. By keeping these numbers low, the risk of serious health problems like cancer, diabetes and heart disease can be reduced. It is important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat or fat-free dairy products every day. Try to limit foods and drinks that are high in calories, sugar, fat, salt and alcohol.
Take charge of your health. It is important to be aware of any changes or symptoms you experience. These include chest pain, shortness of breath, excessive thirst or problems with urination. Be sure to see your health provider about any of these. Pay attention to blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and body mass index (BMI). Make sure to attend regular checkups and to understand family health history. Going to the doctor gives you a chance to learn more about your health.
Get screened and tested. The most common cancers that affect men are prostate, colon, lung and skin cancers. Make an informed decision with your healthcare provider about whether to be tested for prostate cancer. It is recommended that all people be tested for colon cancer. Lung cancer can often be prevented by not smoking. If you are a current or former smoker, talk to your healthcare provider about getting tested for lung cancer. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Limit your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and tanning beds. If you notice changes in your skin, report to your healthcare provider.
There are many ways men can improve or maintain their health and this month is a reminder for men to take the necessary steps to be healthier, safer and happier.