With everything going on nowadays – COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest, and overall daily stressors, it’s easy to ignore one’s health issues. If your spouse or partner is like mine, he avoids going to the doctor at all costs. My husband practically has to feel like he’s “dying” if he really needs to make an appointment to see his doctor.
How appropriate that this month is Men’s Health Awareness Month. This is a perfect time to bring awareness to health issues that affect men and focus on getting men to become aware of problems they may have or could develop, and gain the courage to do something about it. Early detection is always best and key to improving one’s health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women are 100% more likely than men to seek preventative health care. What a statistic but certainly not unbelievable! My husband is a classic example. He recently experienced some chest pains. He only went to the doctor a day later after I forced him to get checked.
So let’s do our part as women to encourage and help our husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, or friends to make their health a priority with these simple ideas:
Go with them to their doctor’s appointment.
It is so important that men get their health checked at least annually. An annual physical will determine if cholesterol, glucose, or weight are at appropriate levels. At a certain age, men need to have their prostate checked and if they have any risk factors for cancers or heart disease, those need to be monitored as well. Preconception health is something I wished my husband spoke with his doctor sooner.
But it’s one thing to make an appointment. If your husband is like mine, he’ll make a doctor’s appointment after much nagging from me but then if work or something else comes up, he’ll gladly cancel or forget about his appointment. And he won’t bother to reschedule.
So in order to make sure your man in your life goes to his doctor’s appointment, it is highly recommended that you go with him. It’ll surely give him comfort knowing that you’re there to support and understand any of the doctor’s medical advice or diagnosis.
You’ll know what next steps to take – whether a blood test is needed or a followup appointment with a specialist – and hold him accountable to it.
Eat healthy foods with them.
Most men love their BBQ and brews. But it’s important that they eat healthy foods to prevent chronic diseases.
Whether it is introducing them to avocado toast, cauliflower fried rice, or zucchini spaghetti – you can help them eat healthy. Show them that healthy food can taste good too.
There are so many healthy options now on the market as well as a range of diets (paleo, vegan, keto, etc.) that may be a better choice for men to maintain their health.
My husband and I don’t do diets but we eat things in moderation. We indulge in wine and sweets every now and then. We try our best to be an example to our kids by showing them that eating fruits and vegetables daily whether it is a snack or part of a meal is a good thing to do.
Be active together.
It’s one thing to eat healthier together, but it is also important to be active together. Exercise doesn’t just have to be doing workouts together at home or at the gym. Running, biking, swimming or going for a hike are great physical activities.
The CDC states that regular physical exercise has many benefits – control one’s weight, reduce your risk for heart disease or certain cancers, and improve your mental health and mood.
Being active together as a family during these unprecedented times of social distancing has definitely kept us sane. Going for daily walks and runs around the neighborhood while discussing daily events has eased our stress. We love to play soccer with other families but because of the pandemic we’ve resorted to bike riding as a family in the meantime until we can start safely scrimmaging again.
My husband loves to start his day by getting in his daily runs in the morning before he goes to work. He’s always been a runner and by cheering him on when he does his half-marathon events, we support his active lifestyle.
Talk about mental health.
Mental health awareness is so important. We’re going through some crazy times these days and men are not known to talk about their feelings or show their emotions. They tend to cover it up with their work or just bottle it all up. Instead of ignoring it, be open and available to talk about life’s stressors and struggles.
According to the CDC, depression is one of the leading causes of disease or injury worldwide for both men and women. Learn to recognize the signs of depression – persistent sadness, grumpiness, feelings of hopelessness, tiredness and decreased energy, and thoughts of suicide.
If any of those affect the men in your life, seek help as soon as possible. Call 911, visit a nearby emergency department or your health care provider’s office or call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor.
Conclusion – Let’s Help Our Men
We want the men in our lives to live a healthier, happier, and longer life. I know I want to grow old with my husband and he wants to see his children grow up. Thank goodness his recent chest pains were just attributed to acid reflux.
My husband is due for his annual physical soon so what better time to schedule that than now with Father’s Day just around the corner. My children and I want to continue to celebrate many Father’s Days with him.
Let’s help our men continue to make their health a priority with these simple steps:
- Go with them to their doctor’s appointment.
- Eat healthy foods with them.
- Be active together.
- Talk about mental health.
Hope this helps the men in your life whether it be your husband, father, son, brother, or friend.
Faith, hope, and love always.