5 Tips to Keep Men Healthy

Man exercising

This week, give yourself the gift of good health. And keep it going beyond Father's Day.

It's never too late to improve your health, no matter how old you are or what your current health is. Here are five things you can you do to improve your health.   

1. Get moving. Regular exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health. If you're not sure about becoming active or boosting your level of physical activity because you're afraid of getting hurt, the good news is that moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, is generally safe for most people.   

2. Get checked for colorectal cancer. If you are age 50 or older and have not been screened for colorectal cancer, you should. Of the various cancer screenings available to men, this one can prevent, not just diagnose, cancer. A colonoscopy or similar procedure can find and remove precancerous colon polyps. If you have a sibling or parent who had a polyp removed before age 60, or had colon cancer at any age, it's a good idea to start these checks sooner.   

3. Know your blood pressure. Blood pressure indicates the force of your circulating blood on the walls of your vessels. The top number (systolic) is the pressure created when the heart muscle contracts. The bottom number (diastolic) is the pressure between beats, when the heart is resting. The ideal blood pressure is less than 120 over 80. Exercising more will have an immediate beneficial effect. If you don't know your blood pressure, get it checked.   

4. Cut back on sodium in your diet. Sodium causes you to retain water in your blood, which adds volume and boosts pressure. Constant high pressure on your arteries, in turn, exposes you to a greater risk of heart attack and stroke. Take out salt and ADD seasoning. Men who consume as much potassium as sodium have lower risks of heart disease. Start by reducing processed and pre-packaged food.   

5. Don't ignore the warning signs. Heart disease remains the leading killer of men and all Americans. If you experience an unusual pain, ache, or other possible warning sign or symptom, don't brush it off. Don't ignore the signs like excessive sweating, chest pain triggered by activity but goes away with rest, shortness of breath, or exhaustion. You should be evaluated by a medical professional.

Dr. Bruce Stiles is a family medicine physician at SwedishAmerican's Valley Clinic. To make an appointment, call (779) 696-7610.