A lot of men think being healthy means playing sports and hitting the gym. “While exercise is an important part of good health, it isn’t the only thing you should do to take care of yourself,” says Vincent Bartolomeo, MD, a family medicine physician with Adventist Hinsdale and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospitals. “Being proactive about your health now can help prevent illnesses and conditions down the road.” Dr. Bartolomeo offers these tips for living a healthier life:
Banish old stereotypes. It’s a common stereotype that men don’t like going to the doctor. When they finally make an appointment, it’s only when there’s a problem. “Men should schedule annual check ups with their physician, not just when they’re sick,” Dr. Bartolomeo says. An exam is the ideal time to work with your doctor to prevent conditions from developing or managing them before they become a bigger issue.
Know your risk. Dr. Bartolomeo suggests knowing which diseases you are at risk for and working with your physician to lower your risk. “Heart disease, stroke and diabetes are some of the top health concerns for men,” he says. Lower your risk for chronic diseases by striving for the following numbers:
• Cholesterol levels:
Total count of less than 200mg/dL
HDL (good) cholesterol of more than 60 mg/dL
LDL (bad) cholesterol of less than 100 mg/dL
• Blood pressure: 120/80
• Body mass index (BMI): Between 18.5 and 24.9
• Waist circumference: Less than 40 inches
• Blood glucose level: Less than 100 mg/dL
Receive a prostate cancer screening. Besides skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and is rarely symptomatic until it enters the advanced stages. This is why men must be proactive about getting screened. During a prostate cancer screening, men will receive a prostate-specific antigen test (PSA) and a digital rectal exam. The PSA is a simple blood test that looks for a protein produced by the prostate gland. Elevated PSA levels can signal a prostate condition. A digital rectal exam checks for abnormal masses or enlargement of the prostate. “Don’t wait for symptoms to arise before you check for a disease,” Dr. Bartolomeo says. Men should receive these tests starting at age 50 or earlier if your doctor recommends it.
- Start making healthy habits. Many diseases that affect men have similar risk factors, some of which can be reduced by an active lifestyle. “There’s hardly a disease that exercise and a healthy diet won’t help,” says Dr. Bartolomeo. “It sounds so basic, but it’s true.” Regular exercise and eating a healthy diet, along with regular check ups, can reduce the risk for chronic physical and mental health conditions.
For more tips on healthy living, click here.
At Adventist Hinsdale and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospitals, men can find all the resources they need to stay healthy. “Developing close relationships with our patients is important,” Dr. Bartolomeo says. “There’s a feeling of support and community that patients can expect no matter what type of care they need.”
For more information or to find a physician, call us at 866-533-7968.