On this page, you'll learn about:
Men's Health & Heart Disease
Knowing your risk for heart disease can help save your life, especially because many of the conditions that lead to heart disease have no symptoms. Find out what you can do for your heart today to protect your future.
It’s never too late to start forming healthier habits, and even the smallest changes can help reduce your risk of disease. Explore general lifestyle recommendations about the types of food you should eat and how much exercise you need.
Screenings & Vaccinations
If your body had a user’s manual, it would probably include information about the check ups and tests you need and when. Stay up to date with what should be on your schedule to live healthier, for longer.
Heart disease, which includes several types of conditions like coronary artery disease and heart failure, is the leading cause of death among men in the United States. Half of the men who die suddenly of heart disease had no previous symptoms. That’s why, even if you feel fine, it’s important to take care of your health – and especially your heart.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three key risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, high LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and smoking. About half of Americans (47%) have at least one of these three risk factors. Other risk factors include:
- Being diabetic
- Being overweight/obese
- Eating an unhealthy diet
- Not getting enough physical activity
- Drinking alcohol heavily
Don’t forget! Higi Health Stations offer free and convenient ways for you to track many of these risk factors. Stop by your nearest station to check your blood pressure, weight, BMI and even learn your risk for type 2 diabetes.
Heart Health & Mental Health
For many men, heart disease is linked with mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. People with depression are more likely to have health conditions that can lead to heart disease, such as obesity and diabetes.
For men, the symptoms of depression are different than they are for women. They include:
- Feeling angry
- Acting aggressively
- Abusing drugs or alcohol
- Having trouble sleeping
Each of these behaviors can put men at risk for heart problems by raising blood pressure and putting extra stress on the heart. The longer a man is depressed and doesn’t seek out professional help, the worse it may be for his heart.
The food you choose to eat each day affects your health and how you feel today and in the future. Making smart food choices can help you manage your weight and lower your risk for chronic diseases like:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Some types of cancer
Your nutritional needs can change, depending on factors like your current weight, age and activity levels. The National Institutes of Health has a handy Body Weight Planner that can help you estimate the number of calories you need based on your lifestyle.
According to recommendations from the American Academy of Family Physicians, your daily diet should include:
- A wide variety of vegetables from the different subgroups, like dark green (spinach or lettuce), red or orange (peppers), legumes (beans and peas), starchy (corn), and others. They don’t have to be fresh – frozen, canned and dried work, too!
- Fruits, at least half of which are whole. Fruit juice can be healthy when it doesn’t contain added sugar but lacks fiber and can add on extra calories.
- Whole grains, like rice, oatmeal and popcorn, as well as foods that contain grains like breads and cereals.
- Fat-free and low-fat dairy products, including milk, yogurt, cheese and fortified soy beverages.
- Protein foods from both animal and plant sources, including seafood, meats, eggs, poultry, nuts, seeds and legumes.
- Healthy oils, including canola, corn, olive, peanuts, safflower, soybean and sunflower oils. They should have a high percentage of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and should be liquid at room temperature.
The American Academy of Family Physicians also suggest limiting the following in your daily diet:
- Added sugars, including syrups and sweeteners that have calories (like brown sugar, corn sweetener and honey).
- Saturated fats, like red meat, poultry with skin, cream, butter and cheese.
- Trans fats, which can be found in margarine, frozen foods, microwave popcorn and prepared desserts.
- Alcohol, with a limit of up to two drinks a day for men up to the age of 64 and one drink a day for men who are older than that.
Getting regular physical activity can have real health benefits, from helping control your blood pressure, blood sugar and weight to lowering your “bad” LDL cholesterol and raising your “good” HDL cholesterol. You don’t need to run a marathon or go to the gym seven days a week to get these benefits. If you haven’t been active before, start slowly – even 5 minutes of physical activity can do you good.
If you’re healthy and don’t have a disability, the American Heart Association recommends aiming for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Aerobic activities, like walking quickly, make you breathe harder, causing your heart to beat faster. At least two days a week, do activities that strengthen your muscles – like lifting weights, using resistance bands, or doing push-ups.
If you have a health condition like type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, physical activity can help you manage it. Ask your doctor about what types of activity they suggest for you.
Getting health screenings is essential to living healthier for longer. Just like a car, your body needs regular system checks to make sure everything is running smoothly. Here are some routine screenings you can expect, depending on your age.
In your 20s and 30s:
- Eye exams begin and continue every 2-4 years
- Testicular cancer screenings begin
- STD/HIV testing
- Cholesterol screenings begin at age 35
In your 40s:
- Cardiovascular evaluation
- Screening for type 2 diabetes
- Colonoscopy at age 45 (then once every 10 years)
In your 50s:
- Prostate exam (PSA test)
- Repeat colonoscopy
In your 60s:
- Hearing exams
- Bone density screenings for osteoporosis
- Screening for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- Pneumonia vaccinations
- Repeat colonoscopy
Just like kids, it’s important for you to get the vaccinations you need. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has provided this handy list of the shots you need to help you keep up to date:
- Once a year: Get the seasonal flu vaccine
- Once every 10 years: Get the Tdap shot to protect you from tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough (pertussis)
- If you’re 50 or older: Get two doses of the shingles vaccine
- If you’re 65 or older: Get the pneumococcal shot to prevent pneumonia, meningitis and blood infections
 Men’s Health Programs: A Primer. Advisory Board. February 3 2017. https://www.advisory.com/research/service-line-strategy-advisor/resources/2017/mens-health-primer. Accessed October 23, 2019.
 Leading Causes of Death – Males – All races and origins – United States, 2016. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthequity/lcod/men/2016/all-races-origins/index.htm. Accessed October 21, 2019.
 Men and Heart Disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/men.htm. Accessed October 21, 20
 Heart Health and Depression: What Men Need to Know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/features/mens-health-month/index.html. Accessed October 21, 2019.
 Eat Healthy. Healthfinder.gov. https://healthfinder.gov/healthtopics/category/everyday-healthy-living/nutrition/eat-healthy#the-basics_2. Accessed October 23, 2019.
 Men: Eat Right, Stay Healthy. FamilyDoctor.org. https://familydoctor.org/men-eat-right-stay-healthy/?adfree=true. Accessed October 23, 2019.
 Get Active. Healthfinder.gov. https://healthfinder.gov/healthtopics/population/men/nutrition-and-physical-activity/get-active. Accessed October 24, 2019.
 American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids. American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults. Accessed October 24, 2019.
 Screening Tests for Men: What You Need and When. Illinois Department of Public Health. http://www.idph.state.il.us/menshealth/screening.htm. Accessed October 23, 2019.
 Get Shots to Protect Your Health. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/doctor-visits/shotsvaccines/get-shots-older-adults. Accessed October 23, 2019.