Men encouraged to pay attention to health while still young

Men encouraged to pay attention to health while still young
Men gain an average of 2 pounds a year in adulthood.
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June is National Men's Health Month, a time each year around Father's Day to encourage men to make their health a priority.

It's a simple fact that women live about 5 years longer than men. There are lots of reasons for that, but one of the most apparent is that men are less likely to pay attention to their health either when they think they're well or when problems pop up.

Studies have shown that, for men especially, it's important to pay attention to your health when you're younger. Otherwise, even if you do survive to old age, those days will be filled with chronic health conditions and disability that could have been avoided.

"The most likely thing that is going to affect a male is cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes. And the groundwork for those illnesses start when we're young and then progress as we get older," according to Dr. Daniel Sullivan, an internist at the Cleveland Clinic.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control found women are much more likely than men to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventative services. Also, all of the most common causes of death affect more men at an earlier age. Breast cancer is the only exception.

Heart disease and cancer cause the most deaths among men. Also, men have fewer infection-fighting t-cells and are thought to have weaker immune systems. But that can be overcome with preventative checkups and screenings. Regular blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol checks are also important. It's also critical for men to maintain a healthy weight because most men gain about two pounds each year.

"And as we slowly gain that weight, we then develop high blood pressure, our cholesterol can sneak up, and there's an epidemic of diabetes in this country," explained Dr. Sullivan. "Currently, 1 in 8 people have diabetes and the projection is that by 2030, 1 out of 3 of us will have diabetes."

Unfortunately when it comes to silent diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, men often don't think about getting treatment until it affects their performance in the bedroom.