A lighter look at men's health issues

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Gabriel Carbajal
  • Health and Wellness Center
In 2002, the New England Patriots won their first championship. That same year 340,933 husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, uncles and nephews died from heart disease. That's nearly five times the amount in attendance at that Super Bowl game.

Men's health: It is just as much of an issue as women's health, but most of us men are too macho to do anything. As young boys we are taught to be tough and ignore pain. This ignored pain could explain why women are 33 percent more likely than men to visit a doctor (and be diagnosed and treated). We simply muscle through the pain, take an aspirin, or pick up a six pack on the way home and try to numb it. Pain is your body's way of saying "Dude, help me out here! If you don't start listening to me we are going to be in real trouble here!"

Biggest Killers: After heart disease, the next biggest killers of modern day men are stroke, suicide, lung cancer and prostate cancer. Oh, by the way, the majority of those can be prevented and are treatable if detected early. We've all heard it from our doctors "If you adjust your lifestyle by eating right and exercising, you can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke." Men, let's admit it. Most of the time it goes in one ear and out the other (unlike at home where you are required to "adjust your lifestyle" to put the toilet seat down - no matter how much you would like to teach her how to work the seat). Seriously, most of us do not go out and buy soy burgers or order vegetable wraps with dressing on the side. So here is a simple solution: since us guys like to grill, and any form of cooking with an open flame is a thrill -- become more adventurous in your grilling. Try flaming some vegetables, leaner cuts of beef, chicken without the skin, or fruit like peaches, pineapples and apples.

Need a new grill? Healthy lifestyle changes, like quitting tobacco use, can produce some serious gains in your checking account. Using tobacco costs a lot - enough to buy a number of new really awesome grills in a year. Lung cancer is claiming more lives of men and women than prostate, colon and breast cancer combined. If you're ready to buy that new grill (and quit using tobacco products) we recommend you stop by the Health and Wellness Center and ask about the tobacco cessation program.

Another thing you can do to prevent the diseases mentioned earlier is exercise. I know you hear it all of the time, but it really is important. Sure Weekend Warrior basketball games and racquetball with the guys is fun, but you need regular cardiovascular workouts (at your target heart rate) to benefit both mentally and physically.

Lastly, in order to preserve your mental health, do not, I repeat do not, seek sympathy from women on the dreaded prostate exam (women deal with more exams than we can possibly imagine). But you still need to have the exam. One in six American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and it is one of the most common types occurring in men but it's the least talked about.

June 15th is Father's Day. Celebrate it by making healthy changes to your lifestyle. Be a role model that your family will be proud of. Don't you want to be healthier while showing off your new top-of-the-line, stainless steel grill (the one that your lovely wife bought for you to celebrate all of the important healthy lifestyle changes you have made)?

Seriously guys, I'm doing my best to hook you up, so remember to invite me to your next barbecue. I'll bring the vegetables.