Eight things men can do to improve their health after 55

ProMedica Men’s Health Team

        Men, your quality of life depends largely on how well you take care of yourself. Follow these eight tips to help you thrive after 55.
        1. Protect your skin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Furthermore, the CDC says that while we’re all at risk for developing skin cancer, men are more at risk than women. To reduce your risk for skin cancer, wear sun-protective clothing (such as long sleeves, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses), stay in the shade and apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher every two hours.
        2. Screen for prostate cancer. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Many men with prostate cancer never experience symptoms and without screening, would never know they had the disease. If you haven’t done so already, begin discussing the screening with your provider – it is recommended to begin screening for prostate cancer at age 40. Your doctor will help you decide when and how often to get tested based on personal risk factors.
        3. Take care of your heart. Stay active, eat heart-healthy foods and get some rest. When done safely, exercise that raises your heart rate can support heart health. Diets low in sodium and void of fried, greasy foods help to keep your blood pressure low and arteries clear and healthy. Lastly, take time to relax and de-stress. Stress can result in high blood pressure, causing your heart to have to work harder. Think about how you manage stress and brainstorm ways to keep your stress levels down.
        4. Check for diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, is a disease involving high blood-sugar levels. This disease increases your risk for heart disease, blindness, erectile dysfunction and nerve and kidney damage. Men age 50+ should be screened every three years for diabetes.
        5. Have routine colonoscopies. Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States, but up to 90% of colon cancers could be prevented if people were screened at the appropriate times. Men with average risk should begin screening for colorectal cancer at age 50 and then have a colonoscopy every 10 years (the American Cancer Society recommends starting at 45 years). Colon cancer doesn’t always display symptoms and by the time symptoms appear, it’s harder to treat. Early detection is your best bet.
        6. Know your mental health state. Surround yourself with people you love and participate in hobbies you enjoy to alleviate sadness or depression as you get older. Depression may go undiagnosed, so talk to your doctor if you are experiencing unwanted thoughts or feelings.
        7. Exercise your brain. To aid in the prevention of dementia or Alzheimer’s, keep your brain active with mind workouts and crossword puzzles. Proper diet and physical exercise are additional ways to keep your brain healthy.               8. Build your bones. Osteoporosis usually begins to affect men in their 60s and 70s. Combat brittle bones by eating a variety of calcium-rich foods, incorporating leafy greens into your diets and getting lots of vitamin D. Exercising and maintaining a healthy weight will also help keep your bones healthy.
        Talk to your doctor about what screenings are recommended for you, ways to stay healthy or how to get your health back on track.


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