Men's Health Month: Man Up & Know Your Stats

Home runs, Hail Mary passes and hall of famers—if you’re a sports fanatic, chances are you know your team’s stats like the back of your hand. Can you say the same about your own health stats?

For instance, you may know that Chipper Jones is one of only six Major League Baseball players to have a .300 batting average, but do you know that 140 mg/dL is the average level of blood glucose you should have after a meal? Or maybe you know that Babe Ruth made 714 home runs, but do you know that having a low-density lipoprotein (LDL) reading of 100 mg/dL or below is considered optimal?

June is Men’s Health Month, and Harbin Clinic encourages men to Man Up and Know their Stats. Various research has shown that many men avoid visiting their physicians, sometimes out of overconfidence that nothing is wrong or denial that something is off. However, men’s health habits and genetics can put them at a greater risk for factors such as heart attacks and strokes.

So how exactly do men take charge of their health, and what should they be on the lookout for? Here are some health hacks on how to Man Up and take charge of your wellbeing:

PROSTATE HEALTH

Love low-fat. The risk of prostate cancer may be higher for men with high-fat diets. So skip the after-work sweets and go for an apple instead.

Regulate red meat. Having hamburgers three times a week might be tempting, but it can also be dangerous. Red and processed meats are associated with increased risk for prostate cancer.

Keep an exercise routine. Plan a regular exercise routine, whether it be going to the gym, running with the dog or even walking around the neighborhood.

Know how you go. Symptoms of prostate problems include frequent urges to urinate, blood in the urine, pain and dribbling. Contact your physician if you continue to have these symptoms.

BLOOD PRESSURE

Know your numbers. High blood pressure is a main risk factor for stroke, so follow your doctor’s suggestions for how often you need to have it checked. 

Ditch the salt. Substitutes such as garlic and paprika can reduce blood pressure levels.

Stretch it out. Calming exercises such as yoga and simple stretches help ease blood pressure levels.

It’s time to quit. Smoking is a detriment to men’s health, and Harbin is here to help you quit and stay tobacco-free. Click here to learn about our free workshops offered every month. 

BLOOD SUGAR/GLUCOSE

Eat your vegetables. Broccoli, brussels sprouts and carrots are all great sources of soluble fiber and can help improve your blood sugar levels.

Hit those weights. Participating in strength and resistance training exercises can improve the way your body regulates blood sugar.

Go for the grain. Whole grains are good sources of dietary fiber, which can slow down carbohydrate breakdown and improve blood sugar absorption.

Decaffeinate. Swap coffee for herbal tea for happier glucose levels.

CHOLESTEROL

Lower LDL. While it is often called “bad” cholesterol, LDL is actually crucial for survival. However, you should moderate your intake in order to stay within healthy limits. Try switching out vegetable oil for canola or sunflower oil.

Help your HDL. Help your “good” cholesterol by trying some salmon. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids increase your high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Aim for a reading of 40 mg/dL or above.

Eat a bowl of oatmeal. Oat fiber found in oatmeal and whole grain cereals promotes healthy cholesterol.

Ditch the donut. Foods high in trans fats such as margarine, popcorn, cakes and biscuits have negative effects on cholesterol levels.

BODY MASS INDEX

Don’t drown in the numbers. Your body mass index (BMI) can be used as a screening tool to decide if your weight increases certain health risks; a healthy BMI is considered 18.5 to 24.9. However, BMI is not the sole factor in whether or not you are overweight or obese.

Check with your doc. Online calculators are available to calculate your BMI, which is determined by your weight in kilograms divided by the square of your height in meters. However, visiting your physician will ensure an accurate reading and in-person insight on what your numbers mean.

Buy a bagel. Eating breakfast helps you stay energized throughout the day and helps you burn calories by kick-starting your metabolism.

Catch some Z’s. When you don’t get enough sleep, changes in the nervous system function, hormone release and inflammatory chemicals can increase hunger and decrease satiety.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

Best health hack of all? Don’t skip your annual wellness checkup. Your primary care physician can help you achieve all of your wellness goals, know your stats and Man Up for Men’s Health Month. In search of a physician? We have them all over Northwest Georgia. Call 888.427.2461 to book an appointment.