Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi
mens health risks

Men, Know Your Health Risks

Gentlemen, we know taking a deeper look into your health can be daunting. Studies show 82% of men try to stay healthy for their family and longevity, but only 50% engage in preventative care. For Men’s Health Month, we wanted to compile a few helpful facts and health-related encouragements to ease your mind on understanding your health. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi’s Wellness Coach, Jon Phillips’s insight helps determine men-specific health risks.

See Your Blue Primary Care Provider

The first step towards understanding your health is as simple as scheduling a visit with your Blue Primary Care Provider. Be sure to prioritize your health by scheduling your annual Healthy You! visit to understand your current biometrics and how those numbers affect your overall health.

Biometrics include blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar and current Body Mass Index.

To ensure you’re on your way to a long, healthy life, don’t ignore family history of diseases, check in with your Blue Primary Care Provider every year and prioritize your mental health (to help ease blood pressure.)

Know Your Cardiovascular Health Risks

One of the main health risks for men is cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular diseases are disorders affecting the heart and blood vessels, such as coronary heart disease and rheumatic heart disease. Phillips says if a male relative suffered from a heart attack or stroke before the age of 45, the risks for you may be higher. In Mississippi, 16.8% of the population have hypertension, while 6.3% have high cholesterol.

How do you combat this? Cardio can help increase your length of years, while strength training (which we’ll talk about shortly) may increase your quality of those years.

Keep in mind your cholesterol levels could determine your quality of health. There are two different kinds: HDL, or “good” cholesterol and LDL, or “bad” cholesterol.

“Men tend to run lower in HDL cholesterol compared to women largely due to differences in testosterone and estrogen,” Phillips said. “HDL is generally known to be more cardio protective, so since men have less amounts of HDL, the risks of cardiovascular diseases rise slightly.”

Some ways to increase your HDL is by regular cardiovascular exercise, which helps your body make more HDL and lowers LDL. As far as diet, try incorporating fatty fish or Omega-3s and Omega-6s to your weekly diet for optimal intake of heart healthy foods.

Build Muscle Now

Building muscle while you have more testosterone can be beneficial later in life. More muscle mass helps your body store sugar, which can reduce the risks of developing metabolic disorders such as diabetes. When you don’t have other places or reservoirs for blood sugar to go, it can create problems.

“Take advantage of the time your body produces more testosterone to build good base muscles and then keep it for a lifetime,” Phillips says. “Doing strength training exercises at least twice a week is the minimum. It gets exponentially harder to build muscle as you grow older, but it’s not impossible.”

It is recommended to incorporate two days a week of upper body and lower body strength training exercises along with cardio exercise 150-300 minutes/week of moderate to vigorous activity. Don’t forget to choose healthy foods for your diet such as whole-grains, fruits, vegetables and less refined carbs and sugars.

Visit our Men’s Health page for more men-specific information.



BCBSMS Wellness Coach, Jon Phillips

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