Most days, you may feel on top of your wellness game. You exercise, you eat right, you make time to relax — but that doesn’t mean you’re not doing other things that steer your health off track.
Here are the top five health mistakes men make along with some great ways to course correct.
1. Skipping doctor visits
Many health problems can be avoided if caught early. According to a 2016 American Academy of Family Physicians study, only about half of men had taken the time to see their primary care provider (PCP) for a physical exam in the previous year. Ditch the excuses, and see your PCP at least once a year.
2. Ignoring the snoring
Excessive snoring does more than keep you and your partner awake at night. It could also be a sign of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious health problem that can interrupt your breathing 30 times or more per hour while you sleep. If left untreated, it increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.
3. Not talking to your doctor about erectile dysfunction (ED)
The reasons for erectile dysfunction have nothing to do with manliness. ED is often caused by decreased blood flow to the nerve and blood vessels that get a man ready for sexual activity. Other causes include diabetes, hormonal imbalance, stress, and certain medications. Many men experience ED as they age, but the good news is there’s help available. Your PCP can perform the necessary tests and prescribe the best treatment for you.
4. Underestimating how often you ‘go’
Maybe you got up to use the restroom several times last night because you drank too many fluids close to bedtime. But if you routinely go more than eight times a day or more than twice a night, there could be other reasons. Frequent urination could be a sign of diabetes, an enlarged prostate, or an overactive bladder. Some medications also cause frequent urination, but it’s best to get it checked out.
5. Denying depression
Depression affects men from all ages and backgrounds. Common symptoms include sadness; difficulty sleeping; irritability; risky behavior; and loss of energy, interests, or appetite. Many men avoid seeking help because they feel they should be able to just “get over it.” Depression is not a sign of weakness and may in fact be related to other health conditions. Your family physician can help screen for depression and other causes. Treatment usually includes counseling and/or medication.
“Good health is not an accident,” says Brian Jones, MD, family medicine physician at Methodist Family Health Center – Cedar Hill East, as well as vice president of value-based care at Methodist Health System and chief medical officer for Methodist Patient-Centered Accountable Care Organization. “Most of us enjoy good health, high energy levels, and physical fitness in our youth. As we get older, we have to maintain our health to continue enjoying active, fulfilling lifestyles. Your family physician is an excellent partner to help you stay in good shape and enjoy life.”
Find a physician to help you keep your health on track here.