June is Men’s Health Month
A time to celebrate the important dads, husbands, brothers, uncles, sons, and friends in our lives and focus attention on encouraging them to take charge of their health
Ware, MA (June 17, 2013) - Always positive and easily the happiest guy I know, my dad, Arthur Espinoza, Sr. is one of the most important men in my life.
I attribute his longevity to the decisions he has made to take care of his health. Although he has some health issues, he continues to take action to take care of himself so that he can be with his children and grandchildren. He quit smoking at age 65 - now at age 83 he continues to do everything he can to remain in good health, including a one-hour daily walk, and a visit to his doctor every 3-6 months. It is important to empower the men in your life to know that good health and their ability to stay strong and live longer is not just a matter of their genetic make up and good luck. Many major health problems that affect men and boys are preventable through lifestyle changes, early detection, and treatment - and with some effort the health rewards can be great.
I am so proud to share my awesome dad with you, as well as the following health information that can help the important men in your life focus on how to live a healthier life, feel good, and stay healthy in the future!
Rosario M. Nelson, NP-C, Family Nurse Practitioner BMP- Quabbin Adult Medicine
Most men's health issues are largely preventable. Unfortunately studies have shown that more than half of the men in the United States have not seen a doctor in the past year. And 55% of men admit that they are reluctant to visit the doctor. All too often, men disregard routine health maintenance, ignore symptoms, and end up in the Emergency Room. The most important things men can do to maintain their health and prevent disease is get down to the basics, including:
Eat Right A healthy diet is not just about losing weight. How a man eats throughout his life can help predict how well he ages. Proper nutrition can help reduce the risk of everything from heart disease to diabetes to prostate cancer. A healthy diet should include:
- At least 2 cups of fruits and 2 ½ cups of vegetables each day.
- Whole grains. Choose whole-grain bread, cereal, pasta, brown rice or oats.
- At least two to three servings of fish per week.
- At least 30 grams of fiber a day keeps your bowel movements regular, lowers your cholesterol, controls your blood sugar and helps you lose weight.
- Choose unsaturated fats like oils, nuts and oil-based salad dressings in place of saturated fats like full-fat dairy foods, butter and high-fat sweets.
Know your numbers Cholesterol, HDL, LDL & Triglycerides, these are types of fat found in your blood and other parts of your body. Your body needs small amounts of them to work, but too much can cause a problem. The extra amounts can cling to, and clog, your arteries. A blood test can measure your levels of:
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol – High levels lead to buildup of cholesterol in arteries. To lower your risk of heart disease, your LDL level should be less that 100 mg/dL.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol – High levels of this type are actually good. HDL cholesterol helps lower the total cholesterol level in your body. To lower your heart disease risk, your HDL levels should be above 60 mg/dL.
- Total cholesterol – This is your LDL cholesterol plus HDL cholesterol. To lower your heart disease risk, your total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL.
- Triglycerides – Another artery clogger. To lower your heart disease risk, your triglyceride level should be less than 150 mg/dL.
Get Moving According to the American Heart Association (AHA), regular physical activity helps to reduce blood pressure, control weight and reduce stress. The AHA recommends two and a half hours of activity per week to promote overall health. This cumulative total can be reached by working out for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. These workouts should consist of moderate aerobic activity such as brisk walking and can be broken down into smaller periods of time if necessary.
Quit Smoking Aside from causing cancer, emphysema, and much more, tobacco smoke is made up of thousands of harmful chemicals, including carbon monoxide, the same poisonous gas in car exhaust fumes. Carbon monoxide starves your lungs, heart and liver of the oxygen they need to function properly. The tar particles, which attach themselves to the inside of your lungs, increase mucus production, which makes breathing difficult. Also, avoid secondhand smoke. It's pretty clear why you should stop smoking – talk to your health care provider, they can help you quit!
Be Careful Unintentional injury is the number one cause of death for males under the age of 44. 53% of death benefit claims in men under age 30 are a result of vehicle and motorcycle fatalities, so take your safety seriously. Wear your seatbelts. Watch your back-16% of all back/spinal injury claims are in men aged 31 to 40. Back injuries are the second biggest cause of all disability claims in men. Remember when lifting use your legs.
Drink in Moderation According to the Center for Disease Control-Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as having up to 2 drinks per day for men. This definition is referring to the amount consumed on any single day and is not intended as an average over several days. The Dietary Guidelines also state that it is not recommended that anyone begin drinking or drink more frequently on the basis of potential health benefits because moderate alcohol intake also is associated with increased risk of cancer, high blood pressure, psychological problems, and accidents. As a reference, a standard drink is equal to 14.0 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in 12-ounces of beer, 5-ounces of wine or 1.5-ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey).
Manage Stress Balancing work and family obligations can be challenging. In the short term, too much stress can cause insomnia and irritability. Emotionally, chronic stress may exhibit as feelings of depression, agitation and moodiness. In men, it can lead to anxiety and a low sex drive. Stress that's left unchecked can contribute to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. For some people, exercise is an extremely effective stress buster. Seek professional help, if the stress is affecting the way you function, then talk to your doctor.
Most Importantly – Have a Primary Care Provider Men are more likely to talk comfortably to a provider that they know and have a good relationship with. No matter what your age, routine visits are important. As you think about making lifestyle changes, talking to your health care provider first will give you access to the best advice and information so critical to making important and informed decisions about your health. Your primary care provider cannot only manage current health issues, they can also focus on preventing health problems before they start and increase your ability to make lasting healthy changes!
Rosario Nelson, FNP, who provides primary care services in Belchertown, joins Dr. Muhammad Gul, Dr. Ronald Beauzile, and Dr. Mario Lysse, serving as primary care providers at Baystate Medical Practices – Quabbin Adult Medicine. Presently accepting new patients, for more information or to make an appointment, call Quabbin Adult Medicine in Ware at 413-967-2324 and at 95 Sargent Street in Belchertown at 413-323-7212.
In attached photo: Arthur Espinoza, Sr. and Rosario M. Nelson, NP-C, Family Nurse Practitioner BMP- Quabbin Adult Medicine