HEALTH CHECK: Know the ways to avoid certain illnesses.
HEALTH CHECK: Know the ways to avoid certain illnesses.

Top 5 avoidable men killers

MEN, we need to talk. Your current lifestyle choices could be increasing your risk of a chronic disease and putting your life in danger.

Let's explore the top five diseases that are causing the premature death of Australian men, and how exercise and a healthy lifestyle can help to prevent them!

5. Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease (CLRD)

CLRD is the collection of conditions that affect the lower respiratory system including emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic bronchitis, that cause damage to the lungs and restricts airflow.

  • Physical activity throughout life may reduce a person's risk of COPD and decrease symptoms such as breathlessness.
  • High levels of sedentary behaviour, like sitting, increases your risk of COPD, regardless of exercise time.
  • Older adults who are physically active have better lung function compared to adults who are not physically active.

4. Stroke

A stroke occurs when blood flow to or within the brain is affected. This results in a lack of oxygen and nutrients to areas of brain causing cell death of that area.

Many lifestyle factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, artery disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and a lack of physical activity can increase a persons' risk.

Being a male also increases your risk of stroke, which is why it's so important to reduce other risk factors.

  • Any exercise, when compared to no exercise, protects against the risk of stroke.
  • Older men who are moderately physical active are least likely to have a stroke.
  • Moderate to high levels of physical activity reduces risk of all stroke.
  • Exercise decreases your total risk factors by decreasing blood pressure, decreasing total cholesterol and managing / controlling weight.

3. Dementia

Dementia is a collection of symptoms that affect the brain.

The World Health Organisation recently released new exercise guidelines to assist in the prevention of dementia.

Evidence is piling up to prove that the more active you are in life the lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease. On top of that;

  • Aerobic exercise (walking, cycling, swimming) improves cognitive function.
  • Physical activity maintains performance in memory.

2. Cancer of the lungs, trachea & bronchus

Exercise can decrease the risk of lung cancer is both current and former smokers.

1. Ischemic heart disease

This occurs when the arteries of the heart become blocked and therefore oxygen delivery to the heart is limited.

Symptoms vary person to person and unfortunately the first sign of ischemic heart disease can be when you have a heart attack.

Poor lifestyle choices will increase your risk of ischemic heart disease. Being physically active decreases your risk of developing heart disease by:

  • Weight Management - Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for heart disease, and regular exercise helps to keep you at a healthy weight.
  • Reduce your stress - exercise can help to reduce and manage stress.
  • For more tips on improving your heart health, visit the Heart Foundation's website.

Take home messages

If you want to reduce your risk of premature death, making some simple lifestyle changes can help.

  • Reduce excess weight through making healthy food choices.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Avoid sitting for too long - get up, walk and stretch at least every one or two hours
  • Exercise - aim to meet the Australian Physical Activity guidelines for your age group. If you're living with an illness or chronic disease, an accredited exercise physiologist can help you to exercise safely and create a program tailored to your specific needs.

For more information, go to exerciseright.com.au