As men reach their 40s, certain new health risks arise. Almost every man can be healthier and happier in this decade if he takes steps to mitigate health risks. Below are the top causes of death for men in their 40s (in no particular order), and what men can do to lower these risks.
Prevent Cancer Risk
The best thing men in their 40s can do to prevent cancer is to follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Aim for eating 5-9 servings of fresh produce every day. Exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week, incorporating both cardiovascular exercise and weight training.
Minimize Heart Disease
Heart disease starts becoming a significant risk in men’s 40s, and the risk increases as men age. Men can prevent heart disease by following a low fat, heart healthy diet. Men in their 40s should not smoke and moderate their alcohol consumption. Beyond exercising every day, the more men stay active, the more they reduce heart disease risk.
Avoid and Manage Diabetes
If you already have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, make sure you are managing it well with proper diet, exercise, medicine, and medical attention. Type 2 diabetes is partially genetic, but it can be prevented sometimes with lifestyle changes. Maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and avoid simple carbohydrates and sugars.
Prevent Having a Stroke
The risk of having a stroke increases as men age, and it’s not unheard of to have a stroke in this decade. To prevent having a stroke, follow the heart healthy tips for heart disease above. Also make sure that both your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are under control.
Watch Out For Unintentional Injuries
Injury is a leading cause of death for young men, and injury is still a risk for men in their 40s. Avoid unintentional injuries by limiting risky activities such as riding a motorcycle or bicycle without a helmet. Never drink and drive. Wear any safety equipment required for jobs, hobbies, or household chores.
Don’t Contract Chronic Liver Disease
Surprisingly, liver disease is a common cause of death for men in their 40s, but it’s also very preventable.
Prevent liver disease by drinking moderately (or not at all), avoiding risky intravenous drug use, and making sure toxic chemicals don’t come into contact with your skin. As an extra precaution, get vaccinated for hepatitis B.
Don’t Ignore Suicide Risk
It’s an unpleasant fact that suicide still remains one of the most common causes of death for men in their 40s. Take care of your mental health through stress management and maintaining social relationships. If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, talk to a doctor, counselor, social worker, or clergy person.
Don’t Get Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases
As men get older, they are at higher risk for lower respiratory diseases like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. These diseases have a genetic component, but you can lower their risk by not smoking. Also do your best to avoid second hand smoke and other pollutants.
Vaccinate Against Viral Hepatitis
While contracting hepatitis is more of a risk for younger men, men in their 40s are still at risk. You can get vaccinated for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. For other strains of hepatitis, prevent contracting it by avoiding risky sex and IV drug use. If you travel abroad, do research beforehand on hepatitis risk and steps you can take to minimize it.
Stay Smart About HIV
While younger men usually are at higher risk for dying from HIV, it’s still a risk for men in their 40s. Know that everything you learned about safer sex and IV drug use in the 90s still applies. People may be managing their HIV better than before, but it is still a risk you have to watch out for.