Minority Health Month In April Focuses On Preventive Care For Men

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BELLEVILLE, Ill.—April is National Minority Health Awareness Month, and groups around the country are promoting this year’s theme—“Man Up for Your Health! Healthy Men Move Our Communities Forward.”

Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security disability representation and Medicare plan selection services, is pleased to offer practical tips for prevention that can help keep men—and their communities—healthy.

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The Mayo Foundation compiled a list of the top 10 health threats to men from statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other leading organizations.

No. 1: Heart disease
Men die from heart disease at nearly twice the rate of women, according to the U.S. Office of Minority Health. Men can take charge of heart health by making healthy lifestyle choices:
•    Eat a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fiber and fish.
•    Include physical activity in your daily routine.
•    Maintain a healthy weight.
•    Manage stress.

No. 2: Cancer
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among men—mostly due to cigarette smoking, according to the American Cancer Society. Lung cancer is followed by prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. To help prevent cancer:
•    Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
•    Limit your sun exposure. When you’re outdoors, use sunscreen.
•    Consult your doctor for regular cancer screenings.

No. 3: Injuries
The leading cause of fatal accidents among men is motor vehicle crashes, according to the CDC. To reduce your risk of a deadly crash:
•    Wear your seat belt.
•    Follow the speed limit.
•    Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or any other substances.
•    Don’t drive while sleepy.

No. 4: Stroke
You can’t control some stroke risk factors, such as family history, age and race. But you can control other contributing factors. The National Stroke Association recommends:
•    Quitting smoking.
•    Exercising regularly.
•    Watching what and how much you eat.
•    Limiting alcohol consumption.

No. 5: COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of chronic lung conditions, including bronchitis and emphysema. To prevent COPD:
•    Don’t smoke. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
•    Minimize exposure to chemicals and air pollution.

No. 6: Type 2 diabetes
Possible complications of type 2 diabetes include heart disease, blindness, nerve damage and kidney damage. To prevent type 2 diabetes:
•    Lose excess pounds, if you’re overweight.
•    Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat foods.
•    Include physical activity in your daily routine.

No. 7: Flu
Influenza is a common viral infection. While the flu isn’t usually serious for healthy adults, complications of the flu can be deadly—especially for those who have weak immune systems or chronic illnesses. To protect yourself from the flu, get an annual flu vaccine.

No. 8: Suicide and Depression
The CDC reports that men in the United States are about four times more likely to commit suicide than women. An important risk factor for suicide is depression. According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, male depression may not be as widely recognized as female depression. Men may find it difficult to admit depressive symptoms and ask for help. It’s important to remember, however, that depression is a real, treatable illness and is nothing to be ashamed about.

No. 9: Kidney disease
Kidney failure often is a complication of diabetes or high blood pressure. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s treatment suggestions. In addition:
•    Eat a healthy diet. Limit the amount of salt you consume.
•    Include physical activity in your daily routine.
•    Lose excess pounds, if you’re overweight.
•    Take medications as prescribed.

No. 10: Alzheimer’s disease
There’s no proven way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but consider taking these steps:
•    Take care of your heart. High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high cholesterol may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
•    Avoid head injuries. There appears to be a link between head injury and future risk of Alzheimer’s.
•    Maintain a healthy weight.
•    Include physical activity in your daily routine.
•    Avoid tobacco.
•    If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation.
•    Stay socially active.
•    Maintain mental fitness. Practice mental exercises and learn new things.

This April, share these tips with your father, brother, son or another important man in your life. The CDC offers free Healthy Men and Healthy Community calendars. Go to: http://www.cdc.gov/men/calendar/index.htm.


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