Men’s physical, mental and emotional health starts as a young child on his mothers knee, and continues throughout childhood, teen-hood, adulthood and progresses into old age. When mother’s focus on health, whether that is nutritional or psychological, a boy is more likely to grow into a man that will more likely focus on health issues for himself, and for his family.
Physical health is emotional health to a large degree. When men are physically healthy (and women too!) they have more energy and more energy frees the mind and the soul, which translates into a healthier all around human being. Just as mothers do well when they encourage their boys towards a healthy out-look on life, sometimes wives need to encourage their husbands too.
The key to living a long, healthy and invigorating life is to begin early catching anything that might be wrong, both physically and mentally. Men have a tendency to be terrified about their own mortality, so they are afraid to find out what might be wrong. According to the coauthor of Younger Next Year, Harry Lodge, MD says “Men are notorious for waiting too long to see their physician.”
Many things that go on at the intracellular level happens silently, so by the time we feel that something is wrong, it is a major problem rather than a minor one that could have been fixed easily, had he known in time.
The worst thing to do to your husband is nag him, because most men hate being nagged and they will drag their feet in the sand just to show you that he can’t be “forced” to do something. Besides which, nagging often evokes subconscious memories of mothers nagging them as boys, something they silently vow never to tolerate again, as an adult.
Most therapists concur that we need to approach our husband with the calm, respectful manner that we would our friends. Further, caring about his self-esteem and emotional health is as important as his physical health, and this is where you (the wife) comes in. There is no one else more qualified to provide a safe emotional haven than you.
Relationship therapists claim that whenever you make a request of your husband, that you place a persuasive hand on his arm or back. Men especially respond to physical touch, so when you are persuading him to go to the doctor for his annual check-up, do so lovingly and with touch. This both benefits him emotionally, and accomplishes the goal of obtaining a physical check-up as well.
The next step to helping your husband remain healthy is by knowing what the particular concerns are of male health. The first thing is knowing what genetic factors are involved. Does cardiovascular disease run in the family? Does Diabetes run in the family? What about depression, or other mental illnesses? Now is the time to understand family history, so you know what you need to watch for.
Starting at least in a man’s thirties, it is a good idea to find a doctor and establish rapport. It will be easier for him to go to the doctor for regular check-up’s if he feels comfortable. Other things that you need to know about men in their thirties:
*the body starts to physically age, and there is a decline in maximum heart rate and muscle. (This means regular exercise and a healthy diet)
*Annual check-up’s for blood-pressure (is anything affecting the arteries?)
*Every 5 years for cholesterol and triglycerides (any heart or liver problems ?)
*C-reactive blood test, once a year starting at 40 (measures inflammation of the heart )
*Thyroid function blood test every 5 years until age 60 (slow thyroid can lead to a variety of conditions such as depression and high cholesterol )
* Colonoscopy beginning at age 50, then every 5-10 years if everything is normal. More frequent screenings for genetic links. ( Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men)
*Prostate-specific antigen blood test, baseline at age 40, follow-up at age 50 and then annually.
*Digital rectal exams, annually starting at age 40 (helps to rule out prostate cancer )
Young men between the ages of 18 to 35 are at a higher risk for testicular cancer, so doing a monthly lump check is a good idea. Also, married men that have fun and regular sex are protected both emotionally and physically (from testicular and prostate cancer.)
Making exercise a habit, either alone or as a couple is one of the best ways to stay fit and have fun together. Keeping weight gain at bay protects his heart, and is essential in keeping belly-fat at bay. Belly fat is particularly dangerous for men because by the time the fat shows on the outside, the internal organs are surrounded.
If it helps your husband to have your support, go with him to his doctors appointments. In fact, you could make your appointments at the same time, making the budget of time more efficient. Don’t forget to assure your husband that you need him around a long time, so he needs to make his appointments and keep them. Assurances of your love is a great motivator.
Remind your husband that as he regularly cares for his car, he needs to care for his body too. Most men can relate to this kind of analogy! Saying please and thank-you go a long way in nurturing a soul as well, because no one likes demands and put-downs. You aren’t a drill sergeant, you are his wife and under the best conditions, at least, you are his best friend.
Commit to a date night. This helps to keep your relationship a priority, which is a very healthy place for a man to be. A happily married man lives longer, and prospers. Watch out for the alcoholic beverages, however, as they tend to make a person more tense (as the initial effects wear off) and irritable. One or two drinks for a man works well, but is not helpful after that.
Are testosterone levels slipping? One way to tell is if your husband no longer needs to shave everyday. Lower testosterone levels can lead to chronic fatigue , irritability and depression as well as a reduced sex drive. As many as a third of men over the age of 40 have low testosterone levels.
Be supportive and protective of your husband’s social circle because loneliness increases health risks. Men that have a strong circle of family and friends have 200% less risk of heart attacks and alzheimer’s disease. Continue to be your husband’s best friend and companion, so that loneliness is kept at bay and far, far away.
Many men in their 50’s are starting to have signs of an enlarged prostate , and one of the signs that a check-up is due is frequent urination with urgency.
Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids (found in Salmon, tuna, trout, walnuts and flax oil) have many health benefits, from helping brain function, preventing macular degeneration and helping to lower blood pressure . You need to eat fish twice a week to benefit, if fish is your main source. I try to eat something with Omega-3’s everyday.
Many doctors recommend that taking Vitamin D is crucial to our health, but older adults are at a greater risk of deficiency, which can raise their odds of heart disease, cancer, weak bones and even memory loss. Many experts advise taking as much as 800 to 1,000 I.U. for optimum health. So, ladies when you are divvying up your vitamins for yourself, hand some on over to your husband too. He will benefit greatly by it, and he will appreciate that you care for his health.
In the 60’s eyesight and hearing can begin to dramatically wane, which can be dangerous. Declining hearing and vision levels can sometimes lead to falls and injury, causing fractures and serious health issue’s. A third of all seniors report falling each year, which is the leading cause of death from injury among those 65 and older. Two-thirds of those who fall will fall again, so watch over your husband, because you REALLY do want to keep him around as long as possible.