Most men need to pay more attention to their health. Compared to women, men are more likely to drink alcohol, make unhealthy or risky choices, and put off regular checkups and medical care.
The good news is that you can start taking better care of your health today.
How Can I Take Charge of My Health?
See a doctor for regular checkups even if you feel fine. This is important because some diseases and health conditions don’t have symptoms at first. Plus, seeing a doctor will give you a chance to learn more about your health.
You can also take care of your health by:
- Getting screening tests that are right for you
- Making sure you are up to date on important shots
- Watching out for signs of health problems like diabetes or depression
- Eating healthy and being active
It’s not too late to start healthier habits. Make eating healthy and being active part of your daily routine. A healthy diet and regular physical activity can help lower your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and weight. By keeping these numbers down, you can lower your risk of serious health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
You can also help prevent health problems by drinking alcohol only in moderation and quitting smoking.
- Make small changes every day. Small changes can add up to big results – like lowering your risk of Type 2 diabetes or heart disease.
- Take a walk instead of having a cigarette.
- Try a green salad instead of fries.
- Drink water instead of soda or juice.
- Find more small changes you can make to keep yourself healthy.
Talk About It
Don’t be embarrassed to talk about your health. Start by talking to family members to find out which diseases run in your family. Use this family health history tool to keep track of what you learn. Share this information with your doctor, and get preventive care to stay healthy.
Many people think of the doctor as someone to see when they are sick. But doctors also provide services — like shots and screening tests — that help keep you from getting sick in the first place. Screenings are medical tests that doctors use to check for diseases and health conditions before there are any signs or symptoms. Screenings help find problems early, when they may be easier to treat.
- Get your blood pressure checked regularly starting at age 18. Find out how often you need to get your blood pressure checked.
- Talk to your doctor about getting your cholesterol checked. You could have high cholesterol and not know it.
- If you are age 50 to 75, get tested regularly for colorectal cancer. Ask your doctor what type of colorectal cancer screening test is right for you.
- If you are a man age 65 to 75 and have ever smoked, talk with your doctor about your risk for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).
- Ask your doctor to screen you for depression. Most people with depression feel better when they get treatment.
Ask your doctor about taking aspirin every day.
If you are age 50 to 59, taking aspirin every day can lower your risk of heart attack and colorectal cancer. Talk with your doctor about whether daily aspirin is right for you.
What About Cost?
Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get screenings and shots at no cost to you.
The Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010, requires most insurance plans to cover many screening tests. This means you may be able to get screening tests at no cost to you. Check with your insurance provider to find out what’s included in your plan.
- Find out which services are covered under the Affordable Care Act.
- Find out which services are covered by Medicare.
Even if you don’t have insurance, you can still get health care. Find a health center near you and make an appointment.