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10 health threats for men

You may worry about having a heart attack or getting cancer, but you don’t bother to get a flu shot or wear a seatbelt. Well, you should. The Mayo Clinic has determined that the flu and accidents are among the top 10 health threats to men. Check out these other dangers, then take action to avoid them:

  1. Heart Disease. There’s a reason worrying about a heart attack is a cliché: American men die from heart disease more than anything else, and more than 1 in 3 men have some form of cardiovascular disease. There are many forms, but coronary artery disease is most common. It causes the arteries to narrow and leads to heart attack. Prevention: Maintain a healthy weight, eat a low-fat diet, exercise often and find ways to de-stress. Follow your doctor’s orders if you have high cholesterol or hypertension, and control your blood sugar if you have diabetes.
  2. Cancer. More American men die of lung cancer than any other form of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Prostate cancer and colorectal cancer are the next two greatest concerns. Prevention: Don’t smoke, and avoid secondhand smoke, to reduce lung cancer risk. To minimize your risk of other forms of cancer, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, wear sunscreen, only drink alcohol in moderation and see your doctor regularly for cancer screenings.
  3. Injuries. Think twice before speeding or weaving in traffic: Car crashes are the top cause of fatal accidents among American men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Falls and poisonings are second and third on the list. Prevention: Always wear seatbelts, and obey posted speed limits. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or when you’re sleepy. Be cautious when standing on ladders. Use nonslip mats in the shower. Install carbon monoxide detectors at home.
  4. Stroke. When a blood vessel in the brain bursts or is blocked by a blood clot, the resulting lack of oxygen to areas of the brain can have devastating results, including paralysis on one side of the body, speech problems and memory loss. Prevention: You can’t change all of your stroke risk factors (like age and race), but quitting smoking, eating a low-fat diet, taking hypertension medication, losing weight and getting regular exercise can help lower your chances.
  5. Type 2 Diabetes. Eleven percent of American men ages 20 and older have type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Complications can cause hypertension, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and amputations. Prevention: Lose weight if you’re too heavy. Exercise regularly and stick to a low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
  6. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD encompasses a group of chronic diseases like emphysema, bronchitis and asthma. All negatively affect breathing. COPD is sometimes caused by respiratory infections, but it occurs most frequently because of tobacco use or inhaling air pollutants. Prevention: Quit smoking, and avoid air pollution or inhaling chemicals whenever possible.
  7. Flu. If you’re young and healthy, the flu may only sideline you for a few days, but it can be fatal if you have a weakened immune system or develop complications. According to the CDC, about 36,000 people die annually from flu complications. Prevention: Get a flu vaccine every year. Wash your hands often to minimize contact with germs.
  8. Suicide. White men commit suicide more often than any other group. Depression is a major risk factor for entertaining suicidal thoughts. Prevention: Seek treatment or counseling for depression; talk therapy and medication are often effective.
  9. Kidney Disease. Some people with diabetes or hypertension develop kidney failure over time. Once it becomes severe, patients need dialysis or kidney transplants. Prevention: Eat a healthy, low-salt diet, exercise regularly and take blood pressure medications as needed.
  10. Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s the most common form of dementia in older people, and it usually strikes after age 60. At first, patients may have trouble remembering events or blank on someone’s name, but when Alzheimer’s becomes severe, patients are unable to care for themselves. Prevention: There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s and no way to prevent it, but experts believe that eating a low-fat diet rich in fish containing omega-3 fatty acids and staying mentally and socially active may help reduce risk.