Men's Health
Chester J. Zelasko, Ph.D. | July 2, 2001

Heart disease. Diabetes. Osteoporosis. These three diseases have been in the news lately and the news relates to how they affect men.

Heart Disease
The vice-president of the United States recently had a pacemaker-defibrillator implanted to help control an irregular heart beat. He has a long history of heart disease including four heart attacks, coronary artery by-pass grafts, and stents placed in coronary arteries. The single most important thing he did was report his problems to his physician. Too many men still try to be tough guys or try to deny anything may be wrong by keeping silent. Many end up dead. If you have any pain or discomfort in the chest, neck, or arms, get to an emergency room immediately. You may never get a second chance. And don't drive yourself. Have someone drive you or better yet, call your local Emergency Medical Response team.

Diabetes
Scientists recently reported that visceral fat, the fat carried around the waist, is associated with higher incidences of insulin resistance (1). Usually considered a preliminary step of adult onset diabetes, a person's cells become resistant to insulin, resulting in an inability to use blood glucose (sugar). This is a significant problem for men, because they tend to carry excess fat around their waists. What this study showed is that excess fat around the waist can really be "the gut of death." Don't think that if you can't pinch an inch of fat around your waist, you're home free. It's the fat underneath the abdominal muscle, packed in and around the internal organs, that's the real culprit.

Osteoporosis
Most people think that osteoporosis is a women's disease, but that simply isn't true. Men make up 10% of the people who get osteoporosis, and the numbers are increasing as average lifespan increases. In another study, scientists reported that men who jogged as little as nine days per month had bones that were thicker and denser than men who did not exercise or did other forms of exercise (2). The men who jogged weighed less and had fewer degenerative health problems than their sedentary counterparts.

Would you like to reduce your risk of developing these three diseases? Research clearly shows that you can reduce you risk for developing these diseases if you will lose weight, exercise more, and quit smoking. Do it for yourself. Do it for the people who love you.

But do it.

References:

  1. Wagenknecht, LE, et al. Insulin Resistance Is Associated with Visceral Fat Area Independent of Overall Obesity. Presented at the American Diabetes Association, 61st Annual Meeting, June 2001.
  2. Mussolino, M. et al. American Journal of Public Health 91:1056-1059, 2001.
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