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Five things men can do to improve their health

Written By: Kim Kham, UT Physicians | Updated: May 29, 2024
Male stretching before exercising

Fitness and proactive health appointments contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

It’s commonly believed that men are less likely to seek help for health problems. According to a recent Statista survey, 18% of men reported not having a personal doctor or health care provider. As men age, the risks for certain diseases and conditions change. Some of the leading causes of death for men are heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and suicide, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2021. To help address some of these issues, below are five tips that men can use right now to help improve their health and well-being.

“Annual well visits are important because they help identify health issues before they become problematic. It is also an opportunity to receive important information regarding one’s overall health status,” said Carman H. Whiting, MD, a family medicine physician with UT Physicians and an assistant professor at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston.

Five steps toward men’s health

Stay up-to-date on vaccinations

There are many recommended vaccines to help keep your immune system working optimally. Your doctor can help you identify which ones are needed, based on your age and lifestyle.

Schedule preventive screenings

These include colorectal screening for males, starting at age 45 for those of average risk. For those with a first-degree relative (mother, father, or sibling) with a history of colorectal cancer, screening should begin at the age of 40 or 10 years younger than the age of the family member’s diagnosis, whichever is earlier. Other important screenings include those for diabetes, high cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight. A prostate cancer screening should also be discussed. Recommendations regarding the age at which to begin prostate cancer screening vary. Talk to your doctor about your risk and the benefits and limitations of prostate screening.

Lower your stress

Men are less likely to disclose causes of stress with their doctor. This can result in depression and anxiety going undiagnosed. Stress is also linked to higher blood pressure and weight gain, so it’s important to take time to unwind through activities that help you relieve stress.

Eat healthier and exercise regularly

Processed foods like chips, fries, burgers, and pizza have high amounts of salt, fat, and sugar. Eating large amounts of these foods may lead to obesity, which is a risk factor for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and other chronic conditions. Foods that contain high fat and carbohydrates should be consumed in moderation. Exercise goes a long way in helping your body and mind. When combined with a healthy diet, exercise can help control weight, may help prevent or control health conditions, improve sleep, boost energy, and improve mood, Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise three to four times a week.

Cut out alcohol and quit smoking

Excessive alcohol and smoking may lead to liver disease, cirrhosis, and a variety of cancers. Talk to your doctor about available programs to help reduce your addiction.

Importance of annual exams

“The annual physical examination with appropriate screening is one way to ensure chronic conditions or serious illnesses are diagnosed early, thus providing an opportunity for timely treatment resulting in better health outcomes,” said Whiting, medical director for UT Physicians Multispecialty – Sienna.

Having regular checkups and recommended screenings will help catch problems early on and prevent the need for more intensive medical treatment in the future. Taking preventive care seriously is to the first step in taking control of your health.

To schedule an appointment with one of our family medicine physicians, view our locations across the Greater Houston area.

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As the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, UT Physicians has locations across the Greater Houston area to serve the community. To schedule an appointment, call 888-4UT-DOCS.