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Men. We’re stubborn. We ignore warning signs. And we like to take more risks, on average, then women. As we near the end of Men’s Health Month, what does all this behavior add up to?

In many cases, a shorter life. And when we’re due – or overdue – to get a checkup, we often come up with any excuse to avoid seeing our healthcare provider.

“We’re too busy. We’re tough. We don’t think we really need help. We just kind of trudge through and push through,” Ryan Shelton, MD, an internal medicine physician with Carolinas HealthCare System said during a recent visit to the WCNC Charlotte Today show. “A big thing is also fear of an uncomfortable exam – which you may or may not even need.”

Cardiovascular disease remains the No. 1 killer of men. Here are five things Dr. Shelton said men can do now to help prevent heart disease from happening to you:

  1. Stop smoking
  2. Know your numbers – cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure.
  3. Know what diseases or health risks run in your family
  4. Limiting salt and sugar in your diet
  5. At least 30 minutes of sweat-breaking exercise a day – for short- and long-term benefits.

Other things that can contribute to poor health include bad sleeping habits, drinking too much alcohol and letting stress creep in. But your doctor is your greatest ally and confidant to help you in your health journey. They want to see you improve your health as much as you and your loved ones.

“Don’t be scared to come see us because we want to help you. We’ll talk about everything you need to do. We’re just people too,” Dr. Shelton added.

Just like a tree, the foundation for good health begins early with a strong root system. Build good habits and your roots will flourish, leading to a taller, healthier trunk (body) later in life.

Gene

Gene A. Woods
Gene A. WoodsPresident & CEO
Gene Woods is the president and CEO of Carolinas HealthCare System and was also elected to serve as chairman of the American Hospital Association in 2017. He is passionate about healthcare, is fluent in Spanish and is an accomplished musician. Gene likes to hear from the community, so send thoughts or questions to him, follow him on Twitter @GeneAWoods and learn more about him.