The Spotlight on Men’s Health at Forty
What You Need to Know to Improve Health as You Age
Growing up, I don’t ever recall a time when my dad went to a doctor. I guess I never thought much about it until many years later I stopped by for a visit and found him on the couch, looking and sounding absolutely horrible. He told me he had a cold but looking at him, I knew it was much more serious.
I asked if he’d seen the doctor and he brushed me off insisting it was nothing. It wasn’t easy, but I got him in the car and took him to urgent care. And thank goodness I had insisted on it, he had been battling pneumonia for too long and according to the doctor, if I hadn’t brought him in, he would have been in real danger.
I never understood it, but the reality is that many men are like my dad. They put off regular checkups, they ignore signs of potential health issues, and they don’t take care of themselves as well as they should in order to live a long, healthy life.
According to Demetrius Porche, DNS, RN, and editor in chief of the American Journal of Men’s Health, “men put their health last. Most men’s thinking is, if they can live up to their roles in society, then they’re healthy.”
Porche goes on to say that when you’re feeling healthy, it’s important to be proactive with your health so you can continue feeling good. As men hit the age of 40, they should be paying attention to and getting checked out for a few serious health issues that can arise as we age.
Cardiovascular health – as the number one health issue among both men and women, it is a huge health epidemic. Because men don’t get regular checkups, they can begin having signs that go unchecked, leading to serious consequences.
Diabetes – seems to happen slowly as men age. Most of the time, symptoms are silent so unless you visit a doctor, you may not even know that your blood sugar levels are rising and the sugar in your system is poisoning you which untreated can lead to blindness, kidney failure, strikes and a variety of serious health issues.
Respiratory health – according to the American Lung Association, more and more men are dying from respiratory health issues including COPD, emphysema and other life-threatening illnesses, and most of them are connected to smoking.
Prostate health – while you may or may not detect a problem, there are three issues that can arise with age, inflammation of the prostate, enlargement of the prostate and tumorous cells growing in the prostate, all that can cause pain and severe illness in men.
Skin health – worshiping the sun has caused more and more men to confront serious issues with skin health. According to studies, in 2013, two-thirds of death from melanoma were men. That’s more than two times that of women in the same year.
What You Can Do
Focusing on health should start well before turning forty, but that number seems to be when many men sit up and pay attention. So, what should you do to live your healthiest life? According to Dr. Sandra Fryhofer, an internist at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, “Forty is a good time to take a deep breath, and, although you have a lot of other things out there, do a little introspection and say, OK, there’s some things I need to do to make sure I stay healthy.”
Those things include:
Get regular checkups – knowing your numbers and family history play a big role in health.
Pay attention to your vision – as we get older, many of us experience more eye strain and vision loss. Stay ahead of issues like macular degeneration and other eye issues.
Eat for health – getting the right nutrients is vital for staying healthy as we age. Pay attention to eating lots of vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats and limit sugar and alcohol.
Get your vitamins – it’s not always easy to get the nutrients we need from food so taking supplements can ensure you are getting what you need for ultimate health.
Focus on fitness – we naturally lose muscle as we age so it’s vital to lift weights to preserve what we have.
Pay attention to mental health – turning forty can have a big effect on how we see ourselves and make us take inventory of our lives. If you feel unhappy and dissatisfied it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor or medical professional right away.
Get social – having a group of friends is one of the best things we can do for ourselves as we age. Socializing is underrated as far as health goes but it can do wonders for a good outlook and honestly, what’s better than laughing with friends?
Let go of unhealthy habits – added sugar, smoking, excessive alcohol, and a sedentary lifestyle won’t improve your health. Let them go and get moving in order to live a long, healthy life.
Health & Wellness Writer Bio
Maria Pease is a freelance health & wellness content writer based in Southport, North Carolina. She has written about health & wellness for more than twenty-five years and has partnered with a variety of companies doing the most amazing work. She loves being able to write about health topics that can change lives for the better.