By Doug Morin
Executive Director, Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine, Indio

American men, on average, die almost 5 years earlier than women but, according to the Centers for Disease Control, women are 100% more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men.  That’s food for thought! Here are some ideas you men can adopt to help you feel better and live longer.

Men need between 7-9 hours of sleep nightly. Lack of sleep causes chronic diseases and conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression.   If you have trouble falling asleep, get some inexpensive melatonin at the drugstore and pop one under your tongue just before bedtime.

Quitting smoking lowers your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses.

Second-hand smoke causes health problems similar to those that smokers have, so avoid it and keep your children away from it. To protect you and your family from skin cancer, seek shade, wear protective clothing and sunglasses, and wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15.

Regular exercise and a healthy diet are crucial to wellness and longevity by helping you manage stress. Aim for at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, and do strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups on two or more days a week. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day (fresh or frozen). Fruits and vegetables have lots of vitamins and minerals that can help protect you from chronic diseases. Avoid food high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol.

Find a doctor you like and check in once a year and keep track of your numbers for blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), and any others you may have. And get vaccinated – everyone needs immunizations to stay healthy.

Reducing your number of sex partners can decrease your risk for sexually transmitted diseases. Be sexually active with only one person who has agreed to be sexually active only with you. Get tested because most STDs don’t have symptoms and often go undiagnosed and untreated.  June27 is National HIV Testing Day and you can get tested quickly at Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine, 82-915 Avenue 48 in Indio. Call for an appointment at 760-342-4414.