Men: Put your health first

If you were ever given the choice between fame, fortune or health, it would be wise to choose health over the others any day. There is hardly any value to life if you don’t have the health to enjoy it. 

June is Men’s Health Month and a good reminder that, no matter how much we have on our plate, it is still important to put your health first. 

Being a cardiologist, I see male patients show up too often, who have been avoiding going to the doctor because they don't like the idea of appearing vulnerable or not in control of their lives. I ask them: what do you say to your friend who doesn’t service their car or motorcycle regularly?

Think of your body as a machine whose engine never turns off and needs care and checkups, just like your beloved Chevy or Harley.

Here are some of the points I always emphasize to my male patients, albeit applicable to all patients, who walk into our clinic:

  1. Exercise, exercise, exercise. I cannot emphasize enough how important this point is. It doesn't have to be a marathon. It needs to be an achievable amount of activity you can manage or enjoy. It just has to be on a regular basis. Carve out 15-20 minutes to exercise most days of the week. Join a social group for exercise; it makes it more fun. 
  2. Eat better. Almost everyone in this day and age knows what are ‘good foods’ and what are ‘bad foods’. Fill yourself with vegetables and fruit. They are your friends. Don’t starve yourself, but manage your portions. This provides you with the nutrition you need and prevents you from feeling hungry. A healthy diet is the cornerstone of longevity. As a rule of thumb, avoid foods or snacks that come packaged.
  3. Smoking kills. Pick up a different habit. One that is not out to kill you. Read a book instead. 
  4. Encourage everyone at your home to be more active. It is easier to achieve your goals when you are all doing it together. 
  5. Most people give up on healthy habits because they don't see immediate results. Your health is not a sprint. It is a conglomeration of healthy habits and activities done consistently. 
  6. Pick up a cardiovascular activity that you find interesting. It’s never too late. It is said that including a cardiovascular activity such as tennis adds 10 years to your life.
  7. Do not reward yourself with unhealthy snacks after every successful physical activity session. It defeats the purpose. Chalk out a healthy diet you will enjoy and stick to it. You will find tons of recipes online. As you age, your body’s metabolism slows down. Make changes to your calorie intake with age. 
  8. See your doctor regularly. Don't keep postponing those annual physicals. Most problems can be picked up in the early stages and can be treated before they get out of hand. Remember, your body is a machine that never stops.

Prevention is so much better than cure. Too many men put their health on the back burner as they navigate life, and too few focus on prevention of life-threatening diseases.

Most patients come to see a cardiologist when they’ve experienced an unfortunate health event or their primary care doctor has come across a concerning issue, but my goal is still to emphasize these basic health practices that make the difference between regaining control of your health or heading down that slope of endless doctor visits.

Start focusing on your heart health today. Your future self will thank you. 


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Dr. Mobeen Rehman picture

Dr. Mobeen Rehman

Specialties: Cardiology

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Dr. Mobeen Rehman is a cardiologist with Northside Heart. He has expertise in complete cardiac care. His clinical interests encompass echocardiography, nuclear cardiology, cardiac catheterization and valvular heart diseases. 

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