Contrary to popular belief, not all fat is bad for you -- especially if it contains omega-3 fatty acids. While this "good fat" is not naturally produced by the human body, it does play a role in reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. Adding in good fats to your diet can help you improve your overall health. According to the Cleveland Clinic, here's how you can incorporate good fats into your diet:
Cook with plant-based oils like olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil, instead of solid fats like butter.
Eat seeds and beans like walnuts, flaxseed, sunflower seeds and soybeans.
Eat plenty of oily, cold-water fish like tuna and salmon.
Talk to your doctor about taking omega-3 supplements.
Preventive care, including regular doctor visits, is important for everyone. The following screenings are recommended for men to maintain good health and catch health problems early:
The American Heart Association recommends that men over age 20 have body measurements taken every two years, although your frequency may vary based on age and existing medical conditions. Measuring height, weight, waist and body mass index will determine whether you are overweight or obese and if your weight is a threat to your health. Overweight people are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure and increase their risk for other serious conditions.
Men should receive blood pressure screenings at least every two years. Preventive screening of blood pressure can lead to early detection of high blood pressure (hypertension). The cuff placed around the arm during a blood pressure screening measures the amount of pressure the heart generates when pumping blood through the arteries (systolic pressure), and the amount of pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest between beats (diastolic pressure). Narrowed arteries limit the flow of blood.
In general, the more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries are, the harder your heart must work to pump the same amount of blood. The longer high blood pressure goes undetected and untreated, the higher the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and kidney damage.
Men age 20 or older should have their cholesterol tested every five years or more frequently if the doctor recommends it. High levels of cholesterol raise the risk of heart attack and stroke. Cholesterol is a form of fat carried in the blood by lipoproteins. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) deposits cholesterol on the artery walls. High-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol) carries cholesterol away from the arteries to the liver for disposal. Problems occur when LDL deposits too much cholesterol on the artery walls, or when HDL does not take enough away. This can lead to a buildup of cholesterol-containing fatty deposits (plaques) in the arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis.
Fasting Blood Sugar
The fasting blood sugar test measures the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood after fasting for eight hours. High glucose levels can be an indication of diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends a blood sugar test every three years for men age 45 and older. If you are at risk for diabetes, your doctor may perform these tests at an earlier age, and more frequently. You should also receive a blood sugar test if you experience symptoms of diabetes such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, fatigue or slow-healing cuts or bruises.
Colorectal Cancer Screening
Colorectal cancer screening tests detect cancerous cells and growths, or polyps, that may become cancerous on the inside wall of the colon. Not everyone needs to be tested for colon cancer, though, the need depends on individual risk level. Three major factors influence the risk for colon cancer:
Prostate Cancer Screening
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer (besides skin cancer) in American men. As men age, their risk of prostate cancer increases. The ACS suggests that men age 50 and older speak to their doctor about prostate screenings. Consider initiating this talk at an earlier age if you are African-American or have a family history of prostate cancer.
Testicular cancer is the most common type of tumor in American men between the ages of 15 and 35. For this reason, all men should receive a testicular examination every time they have a physical exam. In addition, men of all ages, beginning in their teens, should perform a monthly self-examination of their testicles. Testicular exams should check for any masses, as well as changes in size, shape or consistency. For more information about how to do a proper self-exam, visit the Testicular Cancer Resource Center at tcrc.acor.org/tcexam.html.
The American Dental Association recommends regular dental checkups in which the dentist examines the teeth and gums. In addition, the dentist can evaluate bite and determine problems such as teeth grinding or issues with the jaw joint.
Eye examinations can determine a need for glasses or contact lenses or a need for a changed prescription. They can also identify new vision problems. Common vision problems detected by regular eye exams include glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts.
A hearing test determines potential hearing loss. The American Speech Language Hearing Association recommends screening at least every 10 years through age 50, and every three years thereafter. Ask your doctor how often you should have your hearing checked.
To check for skin cancer, the doctor will examine your skin from head to toe, looking for moles that are irregularly shaped, have varied colors, are asymmetric, are greater than the size of a pencil eraser, or have grown or changed since your last visit. Talk to your doctor about getting a skin exam during your regular checkup, and also perform routine self-exams, looking for any spots or moles that fit the above characteristics.
Diabetes is a condition in which your body doesn’t properly process food for use as energy. If you have diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use its own insulin as well as it should. This chronic disease is the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S. and the number one cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations and adult-onset blindness.
While there are different types of diabetes, Type 2 diabetes is the most common. Fortunately, it’s also preventable.
Consider adopting the following lifestyle changes to help keep this chronic condition at bay:
• Talk to your doctor. What’s considered a healthy diet change for your friend might not be considered healthy for you, too. The best way to determine how to go about changing your diet is by talking with your doctor first.
• Lose weight and keep it off. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 7 percent of your starting weight.
• Move more. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week. If you haven’t been active, talk with your doctor to find out what a safe exercise plan is for you.
• Eat healthy. A healthy diet is key to keeping chronic conditions like diabetes at bay. Try things like eating smaller portions, staying away from fatty foods and choosing low-calorie beverages to reduce the amount of calories you eat each day and help you lose weight.
• Get screened. Go to your doctor for routine diabetes screenings. These screenings will let you know how at-risk you are and will help you determine how to further prevent diabetes.
Remember, you have the power to keep your health in check. To find out more about diabetes and your personal risk of developing this disease, talk to your doctor today.
Most people experience several bouts of influenza throughout their lifetime. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even otherwise healthy people can get sick enough to require hospitalization from the flu.
The flu is an infection of the respiratory tract that is caused by the influenza virus. It is spread mainly through airborne transmission, when an infected person sneezes, coughs or speaks. A person can infect others one day before having flu symptoms and up to five days after becoming ill.
Influenza is most often associated with the sudden onset of fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, congestion, cough and sore throat. Most people recover within a few days to less than two weeks. Occasionally, complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis or other infections can occur.
The flu vaccine is your best chance of preventing the illness. Currently, the CDC recommends that anyone over 6 months of age receive an annual flu shot. Nasal sprays and egg-free vaccines are also available. While there are many different types of flu virus, the shot protects you against the viruses that experts believe will be most common that year.
Doctors highly recommend that those at high risk for flu complications—young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic conditions (asthma, diabetes, etc.) and those 65 years or older—should get the vaccine each year.
Other tips for preventing the flu include the following:
If You Get Sick
If you get the flu, stay home from work or school for at least 24 hours after your fever goes away to avoid spreading the illness to others. To ease your symptoms try the following strategies:
The flu is usually manageable with rest and over-the-counter medicine. If your symptoms are severe, though, your doctor can prescribe antiviral drugs to help shorten your sick time. Avoid asking your doctor for antibiotics, however, since they only fight bacteria and will be of no use against the flu virus.
Be sure to seek immediate medical attention if you display any of these warning signs:
By following the tips in this article and getting your annual flu shot, you can reduce your chances of getting the flu and stay healthy this winter.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the typical American family spends over $1,600 a year on home utility bills, and a large portion of that energy is wasted. Not to fear: there are several things you can do each month to conserve energy and reduce the strain on your wallet.
Conduct a Home Energy Audit
An energy audit will show you which areas of your home use the most energy. You can conduct this yourself, contact your local utility or call an independent energy auditor. A comprehensive evaluation should include:
There are more options than ever to use renewable energy. When building a new home, orient it to avoid overhead summer sun and to benefit from winter sun in cooler climates. Try a solar pool heating system, which can cut costs for heating swimming pools or hot tubs. Under certain conditions, installing solar cells might be right for you.
Improve gas mileage by:
Energy Star® Products
Whenever you are purchasing new equipment or appliances, look for the Energy Star logo. These products meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and U.S. Department of Energy. For more information, go to http://www.energystar.gov/