Take Charge of Your Health
With work, family and day-to-day responsibilities, our personal health
is often the furthest thing from our mind and can easily be neglected.
As we age, our health faces key threats and it’s important to be
aware of these risks to ensure long-term health and wellbeing.
In observance of National Men’s Health Week, June 15-21, CaroMont
Health is encouraging men and those closest to them to make a conscious
effort to make their health a priority by following these daily steps
to be healthier and stronger.
Getting the recommended eight hours of sleep each night may be difficult
at times, but it is extremely important to your health! Life happens and
we may be forced to take on the occasional work day with limited sleep
and to make up for it, we may choose to go to bed early or sleep in later.
Understanding how lack of sleep impacts your health enables you to make
better decisions for not only you, but your family. Insufficient sleep
over a prolonged period of time is associated with certain chronic disease
and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and
depression. Not getting enough rest also has been linked to motor vehicle
and machinery-related accidents. According to sleep guidelines by the
National Sleep Association, sleep needs change with age, but the average
adult should aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
Kick the habit.
Your wife has been nagging you about it for years, and you know it’s
bad for your health, but quitting smoking is no easy task. Experts don’t
call it an addiction for nothing. Despite the strong desire to quit, more
than 85 percent of those who make an attempt to quit on their own will
fail and unfortunately, the health risks that come with continuing to
smoking are significant.
Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, some of which are immediate,
like increasing blood pressure. The long-term impact of smoking can lead
to serious conditions like lung cancer and heart disease. On the contrary,
choosing to quit smoking has immediate and long-term benefits on your
health and lowers your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease and
other smoking-related illnesses.
The key to successfully quitting smoking is to have a plan. Pick your quite
date and announce it to others to hold you accountable. Also, remove any
triggers that may tempt you and identify a place or people to turn to
for immediate help CaroMont’s Quit Smart program is a proven effective
program to help people stop smoking for good. For more information, visit
caromonthealth.org or call 704.834.7930.
If you want to stay healthy, you have to move. Adults need an average of
2.5 hours (150 minutes) of moderate-aerobic activity per week and muscle
training activities that incorporate the entire body on two or more days
each week. Aerobic activity or “cardio” elevates your heart
rate and the intensity level of aerobic activity is gauged as low, moderate
to high intensity. For most people, daily activities like shopping, cooking
or doing laundry are considered low intensity because they don’t
necessarily get your heart beating faster. Moderate intensity activity
means you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break
a sweat such as brisk walking, pushing a lawn mower or playing double
tennis. High or vigorous intensity aerobic activity means your heart rate
is up and you’re only able to say a few words before needing to
take a breath. Examples of high intensity activity are jogging, playing
single tennis or riding a bike fast or uphill. Remember to consult your
doctor before you begin any exercise regimen.
Some stress is good, but severe stress over an extended period of time
is bad for your health. Common symptoms of stress and reaction to a stressful
event include tension and irritability, anxiety about the future, difficulty
making decisions, loss of appetite and sleeping problems, to name a few.
The best way to cope with stress is by taking care of yourself and work
to eliminate or manage stress in your life. You should also avoid drugs
and alcohol, even though they may seem like quick fixes. Find support
from a partner, friend or family member to express your feelings to and
to help lighten the burden. After a stressful event, it’s not unusual
to want to isolate yourself. Instead, seek social opportunities like spending
time with your kids or attending a gathering at a friend’s house
after work. Keep your mind and body occupied by staying active through
exercise, helping a neighbor with yard work or even taking your dog on
more frequent walks.
Regular Check-Ups and Screenings
Gentlemen, it’s important to stay on top of your “health”
game. Schedule regular check-ups with your doctor to be sure you’re
addressing all health concerns, even those that may not present with symptoms.
Regular check-ups and screenings help diagnose issues early or before
they become a problem. There are many diseases that only affect men such
as prostate cancer, but it’s highly treatable if detected early.
Keep track of your numbers for blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol,
body mass index (BMI), and ask your doctor what these numbers mean if
you have questions. Also, don’t forget about your vaccinations.
Vaccinations aren’t just for children; everyone needs immunizations
to stay healthy based on a variety of factors, including age, overall
health and your medical history.
There are many things you can do to improve your health and to stay healthy
at any age. Choose today to take charge of your health!
Article provided by: Kenneth Burgess, MD at Gaston Family Medicine in Gastonia. Dr. Burgess
has been providing services to patients in Gaston County and the surrounding
area since 1988. He has more than 35 years of experience in caring for
adults and their families. For more information about Gaston Family Medicine, click