Men’s Health Month
Men’s Health Month—Up Your Game. Improve Your Heart Health.
As we celebrate both Father’s Day and Men’s Health Month in the month of June, we’re reminded of how important it is to help the men in our lives be as healthy as possible, for as long as possible.
While this is always an on-going conversation, it’s becoming an increasingly pressing one. Today, heart disease is the leading cause of death in men in the United States and still rising, accounting for 1 in every 4 male deaths. Stroke isn’t far behind, taking fifth place. Our local statistics for in San Diego, as well as Imperial County, are similarly disturbing.
Both on the national level and here locally, organizations like Million Hearts® and Be There San Diego are avidly working to both educate and encourage men (and women!) to take steps toward a heart-healthy and stroke-free life. According to Be There San Diego, 70% of heart attacks are preventable through a healthy lifestyle and proper care.
As a local coalition of patients, communities and healthcare systems, Be There San Diego is edging closer to their goal to help the entire San Diego community understand and manage risk factors like hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Take small steps, starting now.
1. Get a regular checkup.
The precursors to heart disease and stroke often have no warning signs, so unfortunately, being symptom free doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk. Talk to your doctor about a healthy lifestyle plan and find out if you have high blood pressure. You can even test your blood pressure at home with a blood pressure kit, many of which are fairly affordable.
2. Choose heart-healthy food options.
Steak? Hot dogs? They can feel like the staples of summer. But before firing up the grill this summer, check out these heart-healthy and lower sodium recipes.
3. Start moving (and don’t stop).
Play a game of catch, go for a hike, ride a bike, or head to the local pool. You don’t have to become a marathoner or a Crossfit enthusiast, though that would be great, too! It’s about creating a mindset about “activity” and choosing to move and care for your body whenever you see opportunities. Even small actions, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, help.
4. Put down that cigarette.
If you currently smoke, you’ve probably already heard that phrase. Quitting isn’t easy, but it certainly is possible. Even if you’ve tried before, there are likely effective methods out there you haven’t explored yet. You can find ways to help you kick the habit at Smokefree.gov.
5. Quick Health Check:
Do you feel “pretty good” but aren’t actually sure where your health stands? Maybe it’s been awhile since your last doctor’s visit? These simple tools from Million Hearts are a great place to start.
- What’s Your Heart Age? : This calculator can show you whether your heart is “older” than it should be, which can put you at an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
- My Health Résumé : Keeping an accessible record of your health information is important, especially if something were to happen. Keep your health résumé in an easy-access place in your home, and tell your spouse or friends where to find it.
- Healthy Eating and Lifestyle: Dive into heart-healthy recipes, easy meal plans, and insightful articles designed to help you start creating your healthier lifestyle today.
Doing our part for healthy hearts.
In tandem with these efforts, we’ve partnered with a range of grantees to support projects related to increasing awareness and treatment of men’s health concerns in both San Diego and Imperial Counties. These organizations include:
- Council of Community Clinics, now known as Health Center Partners
- UC San Diego Student-Run Free Clinic
- Multicultural Health Foundation
- Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest
- San Diego County Medical Society Foundation, now know as Champions for Health
- Somali Family Service
- Clinicas de Salud (Imperial County)
Of course, one of the best ways to make a difference is to start with yourself. What are you doing to protect your own heart health? Have you been able to positively influence someone important in your life to take steps to protect their health? Tell us how in the comments below!
Alliance Healthcare Foundation
About Alliance Healthcare Foundation
Alliance Healthcare Foundation is a San Diego-based nonprofit which works with nonprofit, government and community agencies to advance health and wellness throughout the San Diego and Imperial Counties. AHF works to serve the most vulnerable – the poor, working poor, children and homeless by providing grants, advocacy and education to support its region.
To learn more about our grantees, visit our Grantee Page.