Today kicks off National Men’s Health Week, where the men and boys in our lives are encouraged to make their health a priority. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed some key healthy steps to follow:
• Get enough sleep
• Quit smoking
• Move more
• Healthy diet
• Avoid stress
Many of the steps mentioned above are common goals for men. However there’s one healthy tip that’s seldom followed — visit your doctor regularly for checkups. Symptoms for certain diseases and conditions are not always obvious. One such disease is cancer, claiming the lives of 300,000 men in the United States every year.
According to the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH), men account for approximately 53 percent of all newly diagnosed cancers in Hawai`i and have higher overall cancer rates. The majority of those cases are prostate, lung, bronchial, and colorectal cancers.
The CDC offers a cheat sheet, outlining the screening method for each type of cancer and when to get screened. Men are encouraged to talk with their doctor about when and how often to be screened. A different screening schedule may be recommended, depending on personal or family health history or screening results.
For more information on cancer in Hawaii, visit the State’s Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion Division.
This week is also a reminder for men to track their vitals and speak to their doctor about how to keep their numbers in a healthy range.
Blood pressure – High blood pressure affects approximately 30 percent of adults in Hawaii. Measuring blood pressure is quick and painless — it can be done at a doctor’s office, pharmacy, or even at home.
Blood glucose – Monitoring blood glucose (blood sugar) is the main tool in preventing and managing diabetes. Nearly 600,000 people in Hawaii are living with prediabetes or diabetes. For more information, visit the Hawaii office of the American Diabetes Association.
Cholesterol – Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Hawaii and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. HDOH suggests having cholesterol levels checked once every five years to lower risk of stroke.
Body mass index (BMI) – 22.1 percent of adults in Hawaii are obese, which can increase the risk for health problems. BMI can be calculated by weight and height. Use the CDC’s BMI calculator to calculate yours.
Even if vaccines you received as a child, immunity to some vaccines can fade with time. Visit the HDOH Disease Outbreak Control Division website for recommendations, requirements, and vaccine locator.