Men Don't Take Care of Themselves
Men Lag Behind Women in Health Care
by Mark Toomey
It seems that Y chromosome owners are not doing a good enough job of looking after themselves. Men, let’s look at the stats. Out of the 15 leading causes of death in the U.S., men are ahead of women in all diseases except Alzheimer’s—and that’s simply because men don’t live long enough to show the symptoms.
If that’s bad, what’s worse is that men die five years earlier than their spouses. You can double that time if you drink or smoke, have high blood pressure or cholesterol. Some experts say that the reason is because men just don’t take care of themselves as well as women. So the first rule of prevention is to have regular check-ups. Prevention is the key to a long life. Maharishi Ayurveda has some useful tips for the main health threats for men.
Take Care of Your Heart
The leading cause of death for men in the U.S. is cardiovascular disease, with 65 the average age of death for that disease.
Get your cholesterol checked regularly. Take control of your blood pressure and check it regularly. The ideal numbers are 120 systolic over 80 diastolic. Research funded by the National Institute of Health has shown that Transcendental Meditation helps in reducing high blood pressure and stress. Certain herbal products help reduce mental stress and therefore help reduce high blood pressure too.
Smoking is a fast way to an early grave, so if you smoke, make every effort to stop.
Experts recommend 30 minutes of physical exercise daily. There’s no magic pill to get you off the couch, but choosing exercise you enjoy will help. Try walking in nature with your family or a loved one, or playing a fun sport like tennis or softball. As the Nike slogan says, “Just do it.”
The Ayurveda diet is specific to each individual, depending on body type. But generally it emphasizes more fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and less saturated trans fats.
Lung cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer are the leading cancers in men. Nearly 200,000 U.S. men will develop prostate cancer each year. Recent research from the U.K. shows that men are 60 percent more likely to develop cancer and 70 percent more likely to die from it than women. There is no known biological reason for this—other than the fact that men do not look after themselves.
Focus on the next sentence because it just may save your life: It is thought that half of all cancers can be prevented through lifestyle changes. Men are generally less aware that factors such as smoking, carrying extra weight around the waist, high alcohol intake, poor diet, and family history all increase cancer risk.
Maharishi Ayurveda has always focused on changing lifestyle and addressing the underlying causes that may give rise to ill health. Recent research has demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach in the treatment of prostate cancer in men. A study done at the University of California looked at the effects of lifestyle and dietary changes in men with prostate cancer. Over a three-month period, they focused on changes in the genes responsible for deleterious effects and the genes with beneficial effects. What they found was remarkable. By changing your lifestyle, you can change your genes for the better.
Maharishi Ayurveda recommends a diet rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and polyphenols.
Keep Stress Levels Low
Well being and happiness are important for men’s health. Research suggests that men with depression are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Experts say men deal with stress differently than women and that makes them more vulnerable to poor mental health.
Maharishi Ayurveda focuses on lifestyle and dietary changes that are specific to the individual for mental health. Walking in nature, daily practice of meditation to cope with stress, and a healthy diet to help with immunity and strength are just a few of the general instructions.
It’s important for men to start taking charge of their health. Get help if you feel overwhelmed. And if you have a health problem, don’t delay. See your doctor or healthcare professional.
Mark Toomey, Ph.D., is the Director of Maharishi Ayurveda Programs at The Raj Maharishi Ayurveda Health Spa in Fairfield, Iowa.
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