A guy thing!

Recently, I have become aware that men seem to have very little knowledge about their body. Oh sure, they know where most of their parts are, but they don't always know the important health issues connected with them.

Men often see themselves as being generally indestructible or bullet proof when it comes to their health and many other life issues. Although men are becoming more in tune with health and fitness, they tend to seek health care only when they feel a decrease in their performance at work or with their daily activities. Historically, men do not get regular check-ups or participate in health screenings as often as women. As men's attitudes about health care change, hopefully more men will seek health care services for early prevention and intervention before they experience a major illness.

On the average, men die at a younger age than women from nearly every type of cause of death. Early deaths from disease can be prevented. With the right lifestyle and periodic health screenings, men can live longer, healthier lives.

Heart disease kills more men than any other disease. While genetics and family history are risk factors for heart disease, there are lifestyle risk factors involved as well. You can reduce your risk of heart disease by: stopping smoking, reducing your dietary fat intake, maintaining a normal weight, keeping your blood pressure in normal range and exercising regularly. If you are at risk for high cholesterol and heart disease, have your blood lipids checked and act on the elevated results.

I get the strangest looks when I talk about testicular cancer. Most guys haven't ever thought about it. However, it is one of the most common cancers in men ages 15 to 34 and, in many cases, can be detected by a simple self-examination. If discovered early, testicular cancer can be treated promptly and effectively. The first sign of testicular cancer is usually a slight enlargement of one of the testes and a change in its consistency. The best way to detect testicular cancer is a simple monthly self-examination. The best time to check is after a warm bath or shower when the scrotal skin is relaxed. Simply roll each testicle between your thumb and finger. Feel for any hard lumps or bumps. If you find anything unusual, check with your health care provider.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer detected in American men. The incidence of prostate cancer is increasing, partly due to better detection methods. The PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test is helpful in detecting prostate cancer. Men over the age of 40 should have a digital rectal examination annually as part of their general cancer checkup. Annual prostate-specific antigen blood testing should be performed on men aged 50 and older.

Men are not immune to diseases any more than women. That tough outer exterior is permeable by viruses, bacteria, too much alcohol, too many cigarettes, not enough sleep, depression, anxiety and a plethora of illnesses. If you are ill, don't hesitate to seek appropriate care. Find out what the heck is going on. There may be no fast cure, however seeking the appropriate help will make a significant difference in the future.

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Guys! Be kind to yourselves, mentally, spiritually and physically. Take care of yourself.