Men over 50: here are some steps you can take to take better care of your health

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Michael M. Kadish, 83, lives in Brooklyn, New York, and describes himself as “in good health with a few ailments, nothing life threatening.” After reaching the age of 55, he developed arthritis, prostate problems, spinal stenosis and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). The prostate problem is under control with medication, and he is taking medication for arthritis and COPD.

What does he do to take care of himself? “I’ve always been a firm believer in preventative medicine,” he says. “I see doctors regularly and take all available vaccines.” For exercise, he takes daily walks and walks up and down the four flights of stairs in his building when the weather is bad.

Special health needs for men over 50

If you’re a man over 50, you might be wondering if there’s anything special about taking care of your health. The answer is yes. Men over 50 are particularly vulnerable to cardiovascular disease and other conditions.

“Attention to cardiovascular risk factors, including hypertension, abnormal cholesterol, smoking and smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, obesity, diabetes and physical activity, is paramount in preventing problems in men in this age group,” says Dr. C. Scott Collins. , Director, Mayo Clinic General Internal Medicine Men’s Health Clinic.

Men over 50 are also at risk for colorectal cancer and prostate cancer. For this reason, Collins says it’s important for men in this age group “to have general medical evaluations and meetings with their primary care physicians to ensure they are appropriately screened for their risk profile.

men and personal care

Given the number of health issues they are at risk for, Collins recommends men over 50 keep their health in mind.

“Men tend not to prioritize health care for themselves, don’t have regular physical exams as frequently as women, and often present with illness that is present and not for prevention,” explains Collins. “They are also significantly less likely to seek or receive appropriate screening or diagnostic and management-oriented health care services,” or to adhere to their doctor’s care plans.

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The New Discipline of Men’s Health (MH)

“Men’s Health (MH) is a relatively new discipline that not only represents the sexual and genitourinary (relating to the genitals and urinary organs) needs of men, but also encompasses multi-system physical, mental, and social issues,” explains Collins. “MH has not received the same policy and research attention as the field of women’s health (WH); therefore, WH is much more defined as an area with consistent practice patterns.

Traditionally, many men have tended to view their health in a slightly limited way and have relied on urologists for their sexual and urinary health needs.

“Men’s health looks at the whole man and doesn’t just focus on urinary or sexual function,” says Collins. “It is now known that conditions such as erectile dysfunction have a significant relationship and interaction with cardiovascular and metabolic disease which may require the involvement of internists, family physicians, cardiologists, endocrinologists and healthcare providers. advanced practice.

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Relationship with a health care provider

What can men over 50 do to take better care of their health? “At a minimum, have a constant relationship with a doctor [helps] people to think about their health, receive age-appropriate cancer screenings and lifestyle counselling, and consider other health maintenance interventions,” says Collins. A relationship with their doctor can help address diet, fitness and exercise, as well as quitting smoking.

Healthy lifestyle choices

The Cleveland Clinic recommends that men over 50 eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, be physically active, not smoke, have checkups, and routine screenings, limit their alcohol consumption and get vaccinated.

“A healthy diet can help men over 50 reduce their risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and certain types of cancer,” reports the Cleveland Clinic. He recommends exercise for flexibility and to improve balance, as well as aerobic or cardio training and strength training. “Men who haven’t been active should check with their doctor before beginning an exercise program,” he advises.

See: Can we run after 50? These trainers and runners and a physical therapist say you can and should. Here’s how to do it safely.

Mental health and men over 50

Collins says we tend to think that depression only affects women because they tend to seek help more often than men; but men are also vulnerable.

“All adults should be screened for depression and anxiety. There are simple and quick questionnaires that health facilities can use for this,” he explains. “In men, it’s especially important to seek out and be aware of these conditions because they manifest differently in men.” And substance abuse is also a risk factor in aging, socially isolated men.

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“Stay on a consistent path”

Bill Savage, 64, of Lemoyne, Pennsylvania, has chronic health conditions that he says “are under control with medication and/or lifestyle.” He was diagnosed with a heart murmur at 57 and a regurgitant aortic valve. He has an echocardiogram every three years and electrocardiograms every year. A prostate problem discovered after he turned 50 was treated with surgery.

“I see a cardiologist once a year. I also maintain my dental health as best I can and see an eye doctor at least once a year,” says Savage. His advice? “Try to stay on some sort of consistent path with medical care. It gets difficult to schedule all the appointments, but maintenance is very important over the age of 50. And make sure you’re aware of your family medical history.

Debbie L. Miller is a journalist from Brooklyn, NY. She has been a freelance writer since 1990 and has written for Next Avenue.org since 2018, specializing in health and wellness. Miller is a playwright produced in and out of New York and an award-winning author of humor and satire with a background in comedy and theater. His publications also include short stories and personal essays. Learn more about her at Debbie LMiller and DebbieLMillerComedy.

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