On the occasion of International Men’s Health Week (June 12-18), Dr Prasad Honap explains what men in their 20s need to be careful about, to avoid serious health problems in the future
It’s universally believed that men are supposed to take care of their family. But in the process they tend to ignore their own health. In India, the menfolk realise late that they need to take care of their lifestyle from an early age, to avoid health scares later in their life.
Dr Prasad Honap, Consulting Physician, says that the awareness needs to begin from schools. “Schools and colleges should introduce better health education. Students should be told about all the good habits that they can pick early in their life. It’s also the duty of the Public Health Department to spread awareness about men’s health.”
Honap says that most men tend to ignore the lifestyle diseases which they suffer from, due to their ignorance. “The foundation of good health should be laid early in life. If you join the gym in the 50s, you won’t be able to adjust. Those who have been exercising from the 20s, will not miss the gym even for a day when they reach their 50s because they are used to a certain kind of lifestyle.”
Obesity, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis and heart problems are some of the common problems that men face in the later stage of their life.
He says that good health for men boils down to exercising and having healthy food. “Men in their 20s need to exercise regularly and eat a proper and healthy diet. It doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have fast food at all, but it shouldn’t be a regular feature. They shouldn’t go overboard with anything,” he says, adding, that includes drinking and smoking too.
“Rest and proper sleep is also needed. With regular exercise, men would be able to avoid arthritis, blood pressure and diabetes,” informs Dr Honap.
Another issue that Indian men face is belly fat which happens due to thrifty genes. “It’s common for Indian men to accumulate fat around their belly. This leads to hypertension and diabetes.”
Know you family history
Honap says that men tend to ignore the family history of diseases which is primarily the root cause of problems they develop later in their life. “If someone’s father suffered a heart attack in the 40s and his grandfather in the 50s, that person needs to start checking on his heart in his 20s, because there are chances of him going through the same thing. They need to undergo stress test and ECG tests regularly in their 30s.
Likewise, if your family has a history of high cholesterol, take adequate steps to prevent yourself from suffering from it at an early age,” he says.
He further adds, “If the father became diabetic in his 40s, then there are chances that the son may develop it in his 20s. So start checking the blood sugar level early on in life. This way, you will be able to prevent the hazards you might face in your 40s.”
Dr Honap says that young boys get easy access to tobacco, gutkha and other drugs, which have great effect on their bodies in the 40s and 50s. “There are young boys who consume 10 packets of gutkha everyday without realising the after-effects. Consuming gutkha not only leads to cancer but they also develop a condition called Oral Submucous Fibrosis. In this condition, you cannot open your mouth,” he says, adding, “Smoking 20-25 cigarettes in a day actually leads to narrowing of the vessel arteries of the brain which leads to minimal blood circulation. People do not get heart attack overnight, but after years of bad lifestyle.”
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