It’s important for men, and everyone in general, to know their numbers for blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and weight. However, men may be less likely than women to visit their healthcare provider for these important health screenings. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi’s Healthy You! wellness benefit provides an annual visit with a Network Provider for a wellness checkup, as well as age and gender-specific health screenings.
A cholesterol screening is a must, especially for those with a family history of heart disease. You also have an increased risk of elevated levels of the fatty substance if you eat a diet high in saturated fat, eat foods with trans fats, are overweight or don’t get much exercise. Aim for a total cholesterol level of less than 200. For your other cholesterol numbers, your LDL (bad) cholesterol should be less than 100, your HDL (good) cholesterol should be 60 or higher and triglycerides (blood fats) should be less than 150.
Your blood pressure should also be checked at each wellness visit. One in three adults has high blood pressure, and more than half of Americans age 60 and older have been diagnosed with it. You can reduce your risk of developing hypertension by exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcoholic drinks to no more than two per day for men, eating healthy and avoiding tobacco.
It’s also important to keep your blood sugar (glucose) monitored, especially if you have a family history of diabetes. Your risk is also greater for developing diabetes if you are overweight. Diabetes is a serious disease and can lead to a host of other health problems like heart disease, kidney disease and vision problems.
Tobacco-use is another avoidable health risk. For more information on how to quit tobacco for good, as well as the health benefits, visit the "be tobacco-free" section of our website.
Men also have special nutrition needs. They generally require more calories each day than women since men typically have more lean body mass. Men need an average of about 14 calories per pound of lean body mass per day at rest with additional calorie needs for exercise. For example, a 180-pound man with 17% body fat would have 150 pounds of lean muscle and would need 2,100 calories per day at rest. A 130-pound woman with 100 pounds of lean body mass at about 23% body fat would need 1,400 calories at rest. However, men are still at risk for age-related weight gain if they don’t maintain an exercise regimen to offset a slowing metabolism.
The best way for men of all ages to be healthy and stay healthy is to eat healthy, exercise, avoid tobacco and see a healthcare provider each year for an annual health screening. For more information on the Healthy You! wellness benefit and the recommended screenings, as well as additional health and wellness information, visit the be healthy section of our website. The National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health is also an excellent resource for men's health information through its MedlinePlus website.