What do you mean it’s a ‘preventable disease’?

What are preventable diseases, and how to avoid them

Each and every year, millions of men around the world die as a result of diseases that are, for the most part, entirely preventable.

Eight guys in New Zealand die from one every day

Of course women also die from these diseases, but men are much less likely to visit the doctor on a regular basis and generally pay much less attention to their health.

Too many men lose sight of the power of prevention. Here’s a reminder.

 

Heart disease

Heart and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in New Zealand, accounting for one in three deaths. While “heart disease” may be a bit of an umbrella term, generally the same prevention paths apply equally across the individual diseases of the heart.

Avoid

•    Smoking
•    Alcohol (no more than two drinks per day)
•    Fatty foods, specifically foods high in trans fats (beef, cheese, milk) or saturated fats (deep-fried foods, bakery goods)
•    The couch
•    Beer belly
•    Stress

Don’t avoid

•    Physical activity (at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week)
•    Fruits and vegetables
•    Omega-3 fatty acids (fish, flaxseed oil, walnut oil)
•    Regular health checkups (blood pressure and cholesterol)

Lung cancer

Giving heart disease a run on the male mortality stakes is cancer, causing around 30% of all deaths in NZ annually.

Everyday 5 kiwis die of lung cancer and another 6 are diagnosed with it.

While not all cancers are preventable, lung cancer — the leading cause of death among the cancers in men — is certainly one of the most preventable.

Avoid

•    Smoking (the sooner you stop the better)
•    Secondhand smoke
•    Alcohol (no more than two drinks per day)
•    Workplace carcinogens
•    Household asbestos

Don’t avoid

•    Physical activity (at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week)
•    Fruits and vegetables

Type 2 diabetes

While not the biggest killer in men, diabetes is still one of the leading causes of morbidity and disability.

With over a quarter of a million Kiwis diagnosed with it, and an estimated million more with prediabetes, it should be called an epidemic in New Zealand.

Here’s the thing: You can both prevent and even turn back diabetes.

Avoid

•    The couch
•    Beer belly

Don’t avoid

•    A well-balanced diet
•    Fruits and vegetables
•    Physical activity (at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week)
•    Testing for diabetes or pre-diabetes (particularly if there is a family history of diabetes)

Chronic liver disease (including cirrhosis)

Chronic liver diseases and cirrhosis causes death, and most of these deaths are men. While numbers are reducing, they should be better considering many causes of liver disease — alcoholism and infection with Hepatitis A or B — are preventable.

Avoid

•    Alcohol (no more than two drinks per day)
•    Binge drinking
•    Unsafe alcohols (home-brewed or unlabeled)
•    Beer belly
•    Unprotected sex (Hep B)
•    Needle sharing (Hep B)
•    Sharing of other personal items such as razors or nail clippers with an infected person (Hep B)
•    Raw or uncooked shellfish (Hep A)
•    Excessive medication including combining certain meds (be aware of drug interactions)

Don’t avoid

•    Immunizations for Hep A, particularly when traveling abroad
•    Immunizations for Hep B
•    Safe sex
•    Proper food preparation (Hep A)
•    Proper sanitation, particularly of infant diaper-changing tables and food preparation areas (Hep A)
•    Hand washing before eating (Hep A)

Learn more about Liver disease

Prevention equals protection and it isn’t really difficult, especially when your life depends on it.

Kick the durries, limit your liquor, get off the couch and out on your feet. The rest will work itself out.