Now I’m going to participate in the popular game of building a list, in this case, of the most important choices to stay healthy in body and mind for years to come.
And since we are dealing with the game of life, I take this game very seriously. Obviously, there is no scientific way to prove that these are the 12 most important health practices for all men, or that I have classified them in the correct order. But I think I can present a good argument for both the list and the order.
Latest Guideline 2018:
At the very least, it will be a good way to summarize what I think are some of the most important health messages that come out of my new book, the OnCall Guide to Men’s Health by Dr. Timothy Johnson, which helps men of all ages to have a strategy to stay fit and well
As you will see, I have cheated a little by combining two elements in some cases. And I chose the screening tests and the preventive practices for the list. But each element shares this dynamic: everyone is under your control. So here goes.
The Top 12
1) Do not smoke. It is estimated that smoking kills 400,000 Americans each year. That’s the equivalent number of deaths of three jumbo jet crashes every day! Choosing not to smoke is, without a doubt, the most important health decision you can make.
2) Control your weight. For me, it is not an option as easy as it was No. 1. This is because the connection between obesity and actual diseases or deaths is usually more indirect than in the case of smoking. But I have come to accept the estimates of the Surgeon General’s Office that obesity is responsible for approximately 350,000 deaths each year, and that if American men continue to quit smoking in large quantities, it could even replace smoking as the number 1 cause of death. for men.
3) Drink alcohol in moderation. This message can be taken in both positive and negative terms. Really moderate consumption (one to two standard-size drinks per day) reduces the risk of coronary artery disease, the leading cause of death in our country. However, excessive alcohol consumption is a major cause of physical illnesses and social tragedies. Approximately 10 percent of people who start drinking socially will become alcoholics. The decision to drink even socially should not be taken lightly.
4) Exercise regularly This health practice has enormous physical and emotional benefits. In addition to reducing the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis, regular exercise can be helpful in raising our general mood and reducing the risk of depression.
5) Have regular tests of cholesterol and blood pressure. Both high cholesterol and high blood pressure can be described as “silent killers”, as they can cause extensive damage to our heart and arteries without producing any telltale symptoms until it is often too late. Therefore, the only way to find out if you have a potential problem is to get tested.
6) Have a regular colonoscopy and antigen tests in prostate serum. I firmly believe in the value of these two tests to detect two common and potentially lethal diseases: cancer of the colon and prostate, when they are still curable. There are not many cancers that we can prevent from detecting early enough to make a difference, but these are two.
7) Take an aspirin for babies every day (for most men). Unless you are really allergic to aspirin (very rare) or have a high risk of gastrointestinal bleeding (not very common), this daily dose of aspirin is one of the most beneficial and simple things you can do. It works to reduce the risk of clot formation in the arteries that lead to your heart and brain, which reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. And probably act in many other beneficial ways that we do not yet fully understand.
8) Practice safe sex. In this age of AIDS, I could make a good case to put this higher on the list. But even less lethal sexually transmitted diseases can cause a wide variety of disabilities, such as infertility problems and pelvic pain in women. And unless you are in a truly monogamous relationship, there is no good way to tell you that a couple is safe, so prevention of condom use is key.
9) Have regular glaucoma exams. I put this on the list because glaucoma is a major cause of blindness and usually produces no visual symptoms until it has caused significant damage to the optic nerve. That’s why doctors call him “thief in the night”. The other benefit of the glaucoma exam is that your ophthalmologist will have the opportunity to control other eye problems, such as macular degeneration.
10) Use a sunscreen of at least 15 SPF. Skin cancers are by far the most common cancers. Fortunately, most of them (basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas) are rarely lethal, although they can certainly cause local disfigurement if they are not diagnosed early. Melanoma disfigures and is lethal, so it must be diagnosed as soon as possible. But since it is very inconvenient to conduct a thorough skin check, at least for yourself, prevention is a very useful tool. And that means the use of sunscreen and protective clothing and the avoidance of direct exposure to the sun between the “high hours” of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun is strongest.
11) Increase good fats and good carbohydrates in your diet. Some of the standard nutritional advice of the past is undergoing changes. And this is particularly true in the growing emphasis on making a distinction between good fats and carbohydrates, such as omega-3 fatty acids and whole grains, which should actually be increased in our diet, and bad fats and carbohydrates, such as saturated fats and highly refined grains, which of course should be reduced. In other words, simply “reducing” fats and carbohydrates is no longer accurate enough.
12) Find time for some type of meditation / relaxation practice. This objective is very flexible. It is more important to reserve a time for relaxation than to worry about a specific relaxation technique. Even physical activity that is “relaxed” in the sense that it moves your mind away from stressful thoughts can be useful. We all must take the time to “get away” mentally and emotionally at least once a day, wherever we are, or whatever we are doing.