The Basics: Overview
Most men need to pay more attention to their health. Compared to women, men are more likely to:
- Drink too much alcohol
- Make unhealthy or risky choices
- Put off regular checkups and medical care
The good news is that you can start taking steps to improve your health today!
How can I take charge of my health?
See a doctor for regular checkups even if you feel healthy. This is important because some diseases and health conditions don’t have symptoms at first. Plus, seeing a doctor will give you a chance to learn more about your health.
Here are some more things you can do to take care of your health:
- Eat healthy and get active.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
- Quit smoking.
- Know your family’s health history.
- Get screening tests to check for health problems before you have symptoms.
- Make sure you’re up to date on your shots.
Take Action: Healthy Habits
Use these tips to take charge of your health.
Eat healthy and get active.
Remember, it’s never too late to start healthier habits. A healthy eating pattern and regular physical activity can help control your:
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar
By keeping these numbers in the normal range, you can lower your risk of serious health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Make eating healthy and being active part of your daily routine.
Take Action: Small Changes
Make small changes every day.
Small changes can add up to big results – like lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes or heart disease. Here are some examples:
- Take a walk instead of smoking a cigarette.
- Try a green salad instead of fries.
- Drink water instead of soda or juice.
Talk about it.
Don’t be embarrassed to talk about your health. Start by talking to family members to find out which diseases run in your family.
Use this family health history tool to keep track of health problems that run in your family. Then share this information with your doctor.
Take Action: Get Preventive Care
Get preventive care to stay healthy.
Many people think of the doctor as someone to see when they’re sick. But doctors also provide services – like screening tests and shots – that help keep you from getting sick in the first place.
Get screening tests to find problems early.
Screenings are medical tests that check for diseases and health conditions before they cause any signs or symptoms. Screenings help find problems early, when they may be easier to treat.
Depending on your age and medical history, you may need to be screened for things like:
- Certain types of cancer
- High blood pressure or high cholesterol
- Mental health conditions, like depression
Stay up to date on your shots.
Everyone needs shots (vaccines) to stay healthy. Ask your doctor or nurse which shots you need to stay healthy – then make sure you stay up to date. For example, everyone age 6 months and older needs a seasonal flu vaccine every year.
Find out which shots you may need:
Use the myhealthfinder tool to get personalized preventive services recommendations.
Take Action: Cost and Insurance
What about cost?
Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get screenings and shots at no cost to you.
The Affordable Care Act requires most insurance plans to cover many preventive services. This means you may be able to get screenings and shots at no cost to you. Check with your insurance provider to find out what’s included in your plan.
- Find out which services are covered under the Affordable Care Act.
- Find out which services are covered by Medicare.
If you don’t have insurance, check out these resources to help you get health care:
Content last updated January 24, 2020
This content on men’s health was adapted from materials from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Institutes of Health.
Amanda Borsky, DrPH, MPP
Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality