June is Men’s Health Month in the U.S., and it’s a great time for men (and the people who love them) to think about their habits, check in with their doctors and make any necessary changes to safeguard their health for the future. Here are a few important — and perhaps surprising — facts about men’s health:
* About 40 percent of men go to the doctor only when they have a serious health issue and never go in for routine checkups, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
* Men are less likely than women to seek out care, which may contribute to more serious diagnoses and shorter lifespans, according to the American Psychological Association.
* The most common reasons that men give for avoiding the doctor, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Are too busy to go, followed by fear of frightening diagnoses and anxiety over uncomfortable physical exams.
* Are you having trouble getting a man you care about to visit the doctor? Keep nagging him. According to Everyday Health, 20 percent of men admit to going to the doctor just to get someone to stop bugging them about it.
* Prostate is the second most common cancer among men, after skin cancer. Screening might be uncomfortable, but early detection is worth it: After 10 years, the survival rate for prostate cancer is 98 percent, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
* According to Mental Health America, men are less likely than women to seek help for depression, substance abuse, and trauma.
If you’ve been avoiding the doctor’s office, consider putting your reservations aside and making that appointment. According to the Mayo Clinic, men over 50 should have an annual physical exam, and men under 50 should have checkups every three to five years. And remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health — see a doctor if you’ve been feeling depressed or anxious. Remember that taking care of your body and mind is a gift to yourself and to the people who love you.
Vision changes should be checked
Suddenly, it’s hard to read when the light is low. Maybe there are halos around lights. These small changes can become big problems.
Cataracts affect the majority of older Americans across all ethnic groups by age 80, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Cataracts occur when the proteins in the lens of your eye gradually change shape and clump together as you age, according to Health in Aging. Over time, the tissue becomes thicker, changes color, and loses transparency, which can block light from entering your pupil. Aging, diabetes, alcohol consumption, excessive sunlight, high blood pressure, and smoking are among the most notable risk factors.
New glasses or contact lenses may correct vision loss from mild cataracts. If your cataracts are advanced and impacting your quality of life or ability to perform normal activities, your doctor might recommend surgery. During this quick outpatient procedure, the doctor removes the clouded lens and replaces it with an intraocular lens implant (IOL). The vast majority of people who undergo cataract surgery can see better after. Discomfort is usually mild, and patients generally heal within a few weeks.
While Medicare doesn’t typically cover vision care, such as eye exams or glasses, it does cover standard cataract surgery with IOL implants for people 65 and older. If your doctor recommends more advanced surgery or a specialized implant, you may face additional out-of-pocket costs.
If you don’t have cataracts, protect your vision by wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and a hat with a brim to shade your eyes. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (especially dark leafy greens). Quit smoking and make sure to get a dilated eye exam every two years.
Broken toes aren’t always a DIY fix
Many of us have experienced it at some point — stubbing a toe so hard that it swells and bruises, and wiggling it is too painful to attempt. It’s probably broken, so we tape it carefully to the neighboring toe, pop some ibuprofen, and soldier on. After all, everyone knows that there’s no point in seeing a doctor for a broken toe.
That’s not exactly true, according to the BBC. While most broken toes really will heal just fine with careful taping or a special rigid shoe, some fractures are more complex and without appropriate treatment, can lead to complications like long-term pain or deformities. Not all broken toes are created equal, either — a fractured big toe is a serious injury and may require a cast to heal properly.
Symptoms of a broken toe include swelling, bruising, inability to bear weight on your foot, and pain that lasts longer than a day or two, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Dominic King, D.O., a sports and medical orthopedist for the Cleveland Clinic, advises against icing potential broken toes and instead recommends elevation and over-the-counter pain relievers. Let your body’s natural healing response take the wheel and see a doctor if the pain doesn’t subside in a day or so.
Some — but not all — broken toes might point in a different direction than your other toes or show a slight twist. Seek medical attention right away if your injured toe points at an odd angle or is positioned differently than the same toe on the other foot, if you see bone poking through the skin or if there’s also a deep cut or wound on the toe (even if you don’t see bone).
With most fractured toes, the pain is largely gone after four weeks, and walking should feel normal again after eight.
2022 trend: the return of natural beauty
There are many ways you can alter your appearance to express your personality or look younger. You can dye your hair, wear fake eyelashes and get acrylic nails. However, in 2022 natural beauty is all the rage. This trend focuses on enhancing your natural features. Here are some examples of actions and attitudes associated with this trend:
• Put away the flat iron and learn to love your curly hair
• Say goodbye to the curling iron and accept your straight hair
• Embrace your natural complexion and don’t artificially whiten or darken your skin
• Leave your eyebrows alone or pluck them sparingly
• Do away with fake nails
• Flaunt your natural hair color, including the gray
• Use makeup sparingly or not at all
• Choose environmentally-friendly cosmetic products
Self-love is the buzzword for this trend. This year, be kind to yourself and don’t hesitate to show the world who you really are.
Share it and you’ll feel better; Sadness can turn life to drudgery
Life does it to all of us. Disappointment, loss, or periods of loneliness can make us feel sad. How we deal with sadness can influence how well and how quickly we recover.
Psychotherapist Carol Juengersen Sheets says some people deal with it outwardly. Some just keep it inside. This can be a mistake because it lasts longer. Sadness can sap energy, zap concentration and reduce productivity.
No one wants to exhibit a sad attitude to friends and family, but letting them know what’s going on with you has its benefits. For yourself, it means that you acknowledge the pain and are working through it. You allow yourself to accept your feelings and begin to deal with them.
Sharing your grief with others is helpful because they have the opportunity to validate the situation and agree that it’s sad. It allows them to console and nurture you. They can’t make the sadness go away, but their support can help you recover. Sharing your feelings also gives you the opportunity to show that you can be strong.
Sad events can be great motivators for change and improvement in your life. They prompt you to step back and determine how you can improve your outcomes in the future.
Getting more comfortable with your grief lays the foundation for joy and true happiness in the future, according to Sheets. It can also inspire you to help others or work for a charity. Most of all, putting grief in its place helps you to start anew and become a new, wiser human.
What’s farmer’s lung?
Farmer’s lung is a potentially serious allergic disease that mainly affects farmers. Here’s what you need to know.
Farmer’s lung is a disease that’s usually caused by breathing in dust from moldy hay that contains harmful spores and bacteria. However, dust from any moldy crop, including straw, grain, and tobacco, can cause the disease.
A recent study showed that exposure to organochlorines and carbamate pesticides may also be risk factors for farmer’s lung.
Along with farmers, anyone who handles hay or grain in large quantities is at risk of developing farmer’s lung. For example, zookeepers, poultry workers, stable workers, and pet store workers can also develop the condition.
The symptoms of farmer’s lung range from very mild to more serious depending on the person’s sensitivity to mold and the amount of mold inhaled. Symptoms include:
• Dry cough
• Shortness of breath
• Muscle pain
• Rapid heart rate
• Significant weight loss
• Severe fatigue
The symptoms of farmer’s lung can last up to 12 weeks but may ease after 12 hours. However, because many of these symptoms are associated with other minor illnesses, like the common cold, many people with farmer’s lung don’t know they have it.
If you have an acute episode of farmer’s lung, avoid contact with dust as much as possible. In severe cases, you may need to receive oxygen. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to relieve your symptoms and make it easier for you to breathe. However, there’s no cure for farmer’s lung, and you may experience hypersensitivity to moldy dust for the rest of your life.
If you think you have farmer’s lung, contact a health care professional immediately.
Bikes are right for the big kid in all of us
It probably won’t be like the thrill of learning to ride your new Schwinn around the neighborhood. You were eight — it was pure freedom.
But bike riding is still fun and perfect for people of all ages. With the many new styles, it can also be perfect for seniors.
There are many kinds to choose from:
Recumbent bikes are great for people with knee, neck, or back problems. They even come with safety flags, which you need since their profiles are so low. They can be equipped with hand cycles instead of foot pedals too. They are good for roads and trails and can be folded and transported to preferred locations. Drawback: They are heavy.
Three-wheelers: Trikes aren’t just for kids. These adult-sized three-wheelers can be perfect for even those new to bike riding. They are safe, require less balance than the two-wheeled version and they usually come equipped with a basket. Ride down to the store for the milk and set the gears to go uphill.
E-bikes: Add some electric power to your pedal bike with an electric assist motor that can help you uphill or give your legs a break when you get tired. Although you won’t get the same exercise as a regular bike, you will get some. These are great for people with good balance and adequate strength, but they do go pretty fast: up to 28 miles per hour. They can be very heavy.
Researchers say that older adults get many benefits from riding: Improved brain function, preserved balance, decreased bone loss, improved mood, and relief from joint pain. Seniors who ride also keep their waist size down.