Hey guys! I have a few questions. When is the last time you had a comprehensive physical exam? Do you exercise? How are your eating habits? Do you know your cholesterol, A1C, blood pressure, and BMI (Body Mass Index)? If you are over the age of 40, have you had a prostate exam? If the answer to these questions are no, chances are you have health issues that you are not aware of. When it comes to your health, what you don’t know can hurt you. June is designated as Men’s Health Month. Let’s take a look at what we need to do to ensure we take our health as serious as we do our grooming.
Men’s Health month focuses on increasing awareness for both physical and mental healthcare for men and boys, and to encourage them to incorporate and practice healthy living choices like eating healthy and exercising.¹
Oftentimes, men tend to take better care of their grooming, vehicles, and lawns than their health. Attention is given to grooming daily, detailing the vehicles weekly or once a month, and lawn weekly. However, what about healthy food choices, exercise, and routine physical check-ups? Why should men be concerned with our health?
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, here are some statistics regarding men’s health we should be aware of. ²
- Percent of men aged 18 and over in fair or poor health: 12.4%
- Percent of men aged 18 and over who met the 2008 federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic activity through leisure-time aerobic activity: 55.6%
- Percent of men aged 20 and over with obesity: 34.5% (2011-2014)
- Percent of men aged 20 and over with hypertension (measured high blood pressure and/or taking antihypertensive medication): 32.6% (2011-2014)
- The 3 leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, and accidents (unintentional injuries)
The National Center for Health Statistics published a report showing the percentages of hypertension by race among adult men 20 years of age and up from 1999 – 2014. The research reveals black males have the highest percentage at 42.4% among the ethnic groups. Whites have 30.2%, Asians 28%, and Hispanic 27.7%.³
There are initiatives and resources available to for men to take an active role in living a healthy life. One good resource is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health website. The website provides information about Men’s Health Month to include events and downloadable resources. It’s great to have the information. However, knowing is just not enough. Men have to take action as well. Nothing beats healthy eating, exercise, routine check-ups, and relaxation. Accountability partners who have started their journey to healthier lifestyles can be effective as well.
Check out Patrick’s testimonial and how his decision to take control of his health was one of the best decisions in his life.
My Personal Journey (June 21, 2017 to June 21, 2018)
I’m Patrick Garrett a 49-year-old Black male. I’m a 24-year Retiree from the US Army. I’ve always been active, whether playing HS and College Sports to Serving in the Army. About 11 years ago I was diagnosed with High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, and Extremely high Triglycerides. I took medication for years that regulated them but never returned to normal ranges. I never felt ill nor uncomfortable. To make matters even worst I was a medium to heavy smoker of cigarettes. So, my body was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.
Last year, on Father’s Day weekend is when my body almost shut down. Again, I wasn’t feeling ill I just was urinating every 15-30 and was always thirsty. When I returned home from vacationing in Texas I immediately went to my Dr. He performed a series of test and provided me with results immediately. Then my life changed. He informed me that my A1C was 12, Blood Sugar was 565, Cholesterol was 425 and my Triglycerides was 998. He said I was one step from going into a Diabetic Coma. Normal ranges are A1C 6, Blood Sugar 80-180, Cholesterol below 200 and Triglycerides below 149. I immediately started taking insulin treatment with shots and pills, among other medications.
This is when I started my personal journey. The first thing I did was educate myself on Diabetes and my body functioning with it. I stop smoking, started exercising at least 4 times a week and completely changed my diet. With changing my diet, I educated myself on eating healthier with balancing my nutrients. Being born and raised in the country, everyone gardened growing their own vegetables. So that is exactly what I did. I planted my own garden growing my own vegetables. In doing this, I knew exactly what I was putting into my body without any additional growth treatments and preservatives. This became my passion and motivation to getting back healthy. I attacked my Diabetes just like it attacked me; aggressively.
In a Month of changing my diet and exercising; I had lost 10 lbs. and transformed my body inside out. I had lowered my Cholesterol to 110, Triglycerides 109, A1C 10, and Blood Sugar average 90 with my glucose 74. The Doctors were amazed at how fast I took control of my body and took me off of one of my insulin meds and cut back on the other one I was taking. Within another month I had lost another 10lbs, and all of my levels we still progressing in the right direction. By October my A1C was 5.7% which is non- diabetic range. As of today, I’ve been smoke free for 17 months, I’m off of insulin and all my levels are below normal. I’m still dieting, exercising and monitoring my A1C and Blood sugar. I became a case study of how to battle and defeat Diabetes.
Minorities with all the conditions that I had, usually don’t live to see another day. By the grace of God and a great support system I can say, I took control of my life and will continue to fight to prevent any setbacks or relapse.
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