Men’s Health: A Guide For Your 20s Thru 50s and Beyond
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If you could send a message to your younger you, would you encourage yourself to take better care of your health? Save money? Avoid toxic relationships? You would probably have other advice for yourself as well, but here are a few words of wisdom from Salt Lake Regional Medical Center to keep your future self happy.
In your 20s
Most men in their 20s feel invincible. And in large measure, they may be at the top of their game. For many, it is the prime of their life. And if you’re in your 20s, it’s hard to imagine a day when you will feel the effects of aging. But there are important steps to take now to keep that vigor and vim.
Now is the time to form good lifelong habits: Get enough sleep, exercise regularly, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables and limit alcohol consumption. Also pay attention to your mental health. Several scholarly articles link social relationships to good health. One from National Biotechnology Information says, “Social relationships — both quantity and quality — affect mental health, health behavior, physical health, and mortality risk.”
In your 30s
By this time, your body is still young, but you might start to feel the responsibilities of life a little more. You should be seeing a doctor every year for annual checkups to head off any preventable disease.
It’s also good to stay educated on health trends and family history. The American Cancer Society says you have an almost 50/50 chance of developing cancer sometime in your life. And while there are many unknowns in that equation, research shows you can decrease your risk by being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, maintaining a healthy weight throughout your life and choosing mostly plant foods. Also, learn to recognize cancer symptoms.
In your 40s
At this point in your life, you may be dealing with stress on professional and personal fronts. Maybe you are trying to raise a teenager — no easy task. Likely you have career challenges. And perhaps your parents are aging as well. Continue with your healthy eating and workout habits. It’s more important now than ever.
By this age, be sure you know your cholesterol numbers, you’re being screened for adult-onset diabetes and you’re keeping an eye on your liver and kidney function.
Another thing you’ll notice during these years: You’re probably not seeing as well as you used to. The American Optometric Association recommends getting a vision exam every two years between the ages of 40 and 60. You might need reading glasses or bifocals and likely will need more light to see clearly. You’ll probably experience problems with glare and it might be harder to tell the difference between colors.
In your 50s
Although erectile dysfunction can happen at any age, an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that sexual function sharply decreases after age 50. This is frustrating for you and your spouse, and experts now believe it may be an early symptom of heart disease.
Also, it’s time to get screened for prostate cancer and colon cancer. These diseases share the common thread of showing few or no symptoms in the early stages. If you’re waiting to go to the doctor until something feels wrong, you’re taking an unnecessary risk. The PSA screening is a simple blood test. A colonoscopy is a more complex procedure, but most people find it’s not as bad as they thought it would be. Plus, there are now other detection methods that are completely noninvasive.
By this time you’re probably seeing more wrinkles on your face. What you can’t see is that there are fewer wrinkles in your brain, and that’s a bad thing. This is also the time to make sure you are exercising your brain. Take a class, work a puzzle, learn a language — in short, learn something new.
Most important, whatever stage of life you’re in, enjoy where you are and take steps today to make the most of the coming years.