June 12, 2018

5 Ways for Men to Live a Longer, Healthier Life
by Zulfiqar Hashim, MD

Men can live longer and enjoy good health and independence as they age by following five healthy habits.

#1 – Quit smoking
Smoking is linked to 4 the top 5 causes of premature death in men. It contributes to high blood pressure which can lead to heart disease and stroke. About ¼ of all
heart-disease-related deaths happen in men ages 35 to 65. Ninety percent of lung cancer is caused by smoking. Men who smoke are nearly 12 times as likely to die from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) as men who have never smoked. The study determined that not smoking has the most powerful effect on your health.

#2  – Maintain a healthy body-mass index
Body-mass index is your ratio of height to weight. It is an important screen to determine if you are overweight or underweight.

#3 –Exercise daily
Maintaining a healthy weight is easier when you include exercise in your daily routine. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight work together,
helping prevent heart disease, cancers, stroke, diabetes and other diseases that cause premature death.

#4 – Cut back on drinking alcohol and avoid drugs
Excessive drinking – whether it is beer, wine, or hard liquor – contributes to heart disease and cancer. But did you know it also is a factor in another cause of
premature death in men- death by accident? And car crashes caused by driving under the influence are not the only concern. An estimated 40 percent of
residential fire deaths are caused by alcohol use. Never combine alcohol with drugs. Avoid street drugs completely, and use caution if you are prescribed an opiod pain killer. These can be highly addictive. It is important to follow your
doctor’s instructions carefully if you are using an opiod to manage pain.

#5 – Eat a healthy diet
Your diet has a direct effect on your cholesterol levels, which contribute to disease. If you have diabetes or are at risk for diabetes, it is important to watch your sugar intake. Diet can also affect blood pressure, which contributes to heart disease. Your diet affects the number you see on the scale and is a key part of maintaining a healthy weight.

Following these habits can add more than a decade on to your life expectancy, and healthier people enjoy a better quality of life. If you need some help learning about how to adopt these habits in your life, come to a free wellness class at VNA. The classes are fun and interactive. Classes include simple cooking demonstrations with samples. You’ll learn how to eat healthy and get tips for
becoming more active. And, be sure to have a check-up once each year with your VNA provider to talk about your health concerns and have important health screenings.