June is recognized each year as National Men’s Health Awareness Month! This is an excellent time to take a moment and consider the appropriate preventive measures to ensure the health of ourselves and the other men in our lives. Because of the fast-paced lifestyles that many of us live, it’s not uncommon for us to lose track of some important health considerations. Statistically speaking, men need to give extra attention to several key health-related topics. They are:
- 12 percent of men age 18 or over are in fair or poor health 
- 71.6 percent of adults age 20 and over are overweight, including obese
- 8 percent of adults age 20 and over with obesity 1
- 33.1 percent of men age 20 and over with hypertension (measured high blood pressure and/or taking antihypertensive medication) 1
- Leading causes of death in men: heart disease, cancer and accidents 1
- Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in American men (except skin cancer). There is a higher incidence in African American men age 65 and older.
- Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men ages 15 to 34 
- Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S.
- 16 of every 100 adult men are found to be smokers, 15.6 percent. 
- 12 of every 10 adult women are found to be smokers, 12 percent. 3
- Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a Heart Attack 1
- Know the signs of a heart attack and if you think that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, call 911 immediately. Major signs of a heart attack include:
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back
- Feeling weak, light-headed or faint
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder
- Shortness of breath
- Depression is one of the leading causes of disease or injury worldwide in both men and women
- If you or someone you know needs assistance, dial 911, seek emergency assistance or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor
Alright, alright. Now that I have thrown these not-so-uplifting statistics your way, let’s talk about some positive changes you can make to enhance your health.
- Move 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week. Moving your body helps reduce stress by increasing endorphins and releasing tension.
- Exercise can help slow the loss of bone density that comes with age. This helps prevent fractures. It is important to start slow and seek guidance from your physician and/or a professional when beginning an exercise routine.
- Exercise helps lower blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol/triglycerides, raise the good HDL cholesterol, boost mood and help control weight
- For those living with type 2 diabetes, exercise is especially important because it can lower blood sugar levels and boost your body’s sensitivity to insulin.
- Purdue currently has a variety of exercise options available virtually:
- Yoga at Home – Two types of yoga practice are available. Led by Erin Brocka, assistant director of strength & conditioning, Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Administration
Note: New content is added to the playlists below each week; if you subscribe to the channel or playlist, you will get updates when new content has been uploaded.
- Yoga Flow – Each video in the series is approximately 20 minutes long and designed to be done as a break in your day or as part of your morning routine.
- Journey Into Power: Building Sequence – These sessions are building blocks for Journey into Power (JIP), which is made up of 11 sequences. Each week we add to the sequences building up to a 60-minute yoga practice.
- RecWell Virtual Programming– Offered by Purdue’s Recreation & Wellness, RecWell Virtual programming is a weekly updated collection of video classes on group fitness, wellness and cooking aimed at building strong bodies and minds. In response to COVID-19, these resources are open to everyone – even those who do not have memberships. (Note: RecWell financial counseling, wellness coaching and nutrition consultations are for University students only.)
- Take a Yoga Break – Live, weekly WebEx yoga classes, Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m.; Led by Purdue Fort Wayne Health Coach, Lindsay Bloom.
When it’s time, join the WebEx meeting.
Meeting number: 612 289 539
Meeting Password: One2One
|Ø LIVE High Intensity Interval Training (HiiT) Sessions – Every Tuesday and Thursday at 3 p.m. EST via Zoom; Led by Erin Brocka, assistant director of strength & conditioning, Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Administration|
- On Tuesday and Thursday Brocka will be LIVE on Zoom bringing you “High Intensity Interval Training” Don’t let the name keep you from joining in, all levels are welcomed, all exercises can be modified and jumping is not required!
- What you’ll need for HiiT…you! At times we will use household items such as: canned goods, chair, a roll of TP, etc. Brocka suggest putting on a pair of workout shoes unless you train barefoot regularly. Again, I highly suggests keeping a glass/bottle of water nearby.
- How you get there:
- On your computer: go to http://zoom.us
- Click: Join a Meeting
- Type in Meeting ID: 627-590-6820
- Session will begin promptly at 3pm ET; you will be able to join the meeting at least five minutes prior to the start time.
As a reminder, for any exercise program you might start, partnering with a health coach for support, motivation, ideas and more is a great option available to you! You can schedule a telehealth appointment with a health coach at the Center for Healthy Living (CHL) on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus or at Purdue’s Fort Wayne campus; both telehealth options are available for all benefits-eligible employees and dependents covered on a Purdue health plan, regardless of campus location:
- Call the CHL at 765-494-0111 to schedule with Cheryl A. Laszynskior Whitney Soto.
- Call the Fort Wayne campus at 260-481-6651 to schedule with Lindsay Bloom.
- Be sure to check the Healthy Boiler Workshops web page occasionally for updated physical health and behavioral health workshop options.
- Strive for at least 64 ounces of water daily (or until urine is a pale-yellow color)
- Limit caffeine to 400 mg daily for a healthy adult (for reference, a Venti Medium roast coffee at Starbucks is about 410 mg)
- Strive for five servings of vegetables per day, four servings of fruit per day and two to three servings of fish rich in omega 3s per week and more
- Get plenty of Vitamin D to help improve bone health, calcium metabolism, improve mental health and boost your immune system.
- Best source: 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine daily. The body activates Vitamin D through a process that involves UVB rays reacting with cholesterol in our skin. Use caution to sun exposure especially during the summer months between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Food sources: Salmon/fatty fish, chicken/beef liver, egg yolk, grass fed butter/cheese, mushrooms
- Caution: Vitamin D is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins. Although rare, it IS possible to have toxic levels with improper supplementation
Megan Shidler, registered dietitian at the CHL is available to meet with you to discuss your nutrition and help you make any needed changes. Call the CHL at 765-494-0111 to schedule.
- Decrease stress by paying attention to your body’s cues. Recognize signs like clenched teeth and increased heart rate, which may indicate stress.
- When feeling stressed; focus on the present. Go for a walk outside and enjoy the fresh air. Pay attention to the different smells.
- Limit alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a depressant and can make stress harder to manage.
- Talk with a counselor. Counseling, offered through Purdue’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a no-cost resource available to the Purdue community, and currently is being offered via telehealth. EAP counselors offer confidential, professional counseling to benefits-eligible employees and dependents covered on a Purdue health plan. Campus-specific information can be found on the web pages below:
- West Lafayette campus EAP – offered through the Center for Healthy Living. Note: in this time of need and uncertainty, CHL counselors are available for appointments outside of the six-visit limit, without charge. Call 765-494-0111 to schedule.
- Fort Wayne campus EAP – available through Bowen Center. Call 800-342-5653 (open 24/7)
- Northwest (Hammond and Westville campuses) EAP – provided by New Avenues. Call 800-731-6501, select option 2.
- Anthem – Purdue’s medical plan administrator – also provides an EAP, now offering free, confidential help at com.
- Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night
- Lack of sleep is linked to increased risk of disease, increased cortisol levels, weight gain, increased stress and decreased immune system function
- Limit caffeine after 2 or 3 p.m., avoid electronics before bed and stay physically active during the day to allow for deeper sleep
- More people in the U.S. are addicted to nicotine than any other drug. Researchers have found it to be as addictive as heroin, cocaine and alcohol 
- Consider reaching out to one of Purdue’s health coaches at the CHL or the Fort Wayne campus additional support
- Approved tobacco cessation programs are available to you via and once completed will not only help your physical health but your financial wellness, too due to the tobacco-user additional premium.
Stay up to date on immunizations:
- Influenza – annual
- Tdap – those over the age of 19 should receive 1 dose of Tdap then a booster of Tdap or Td every 10 years
- Shingles/Zoster “Shingrix” (recombinant) – two doses are recommended for men over the age of 50
- Click here for complete adult vaccine schedule
Take care of your teeth
- According to the American Dental Association (ADA), men are less likely than women to seek preventive dental care.
- Dental cleanings should take place every six months.
- ADA shares these dental health lessons you can learn from you car
- Information on Purdue’s dental insurance is available on the Faculty and Staff Dental Insurance web page.
After reading through some of these risks and preventative measures, I hope you can reflect on areas where you are doing well and areas where you may need improvement. There are several resources available to help you meet your goals and receive any needed care.
While medical providers may have different ways of practicing and doing baseline testing, getting an annual physical is recommended and the best way to know where you stand in regards to your health. Annual physicals are covered by your Purdue medical plan at 100 percent and can be done at the CHL on the West Lafayette campus, the Campus Health Clinic on the Fort Wayne campus and the respective healthcare facilities on the Northwest campuses – Hammond and Westville. Completing your annual physical and biometrics screening will also earn you Healthy Boiler incentives. Common testing includes an A1C (which measures your blood sugar average over the course of two to three months), a cholesterol panel and other electrolyte and metabolic panels as well as an ASCVD Risk Assessment (determines heart disease/stroke risk). Male specific testing may also include:
- PSA (prostate specific antigen): The prostate is a small gland that sits below the bladder in men. A blood test can be done to determine the level of PSA, which is a protein that can be produced by both cancerous and non-cancerous tissue in the prostate. This is typically checked around age 50.
- Cologuard screening: This is a non-invasive screening for colon cancer, which is recommended around age 50. A stool sample is collected at home and sent to the lab. A positive result would indicate additional colonoscopy screening. The CHL offers Cologuard screenings.
- Testicular cancer screening: There is no standard or routine screening test for early detection. Most testicular cancers are found by self-exam, which is recommended to be done once a month.
- See advice from Johns Hopkins Medicine on how to perform a testicular self-exam.
If you would like additional support in any of these areas, feel free to contact the CHL at 765-494-0111. We are more than happy to assist you in scheduling an appointment with a medical provider, health coach, dietitian, pharmacist, EAP counselor or Anthem representative.
Be Well. Be Kind. Boiler up!
Author: Whitney Soto, RN health coach, One to One Health
Purdue’s Center for Healthy Living on the West Lafayette campus is managed by One to One Health, a private, physician-led company.
- “FastStats – Mens Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 Jan. 2017, www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/mens-health.htm.
- “Testicular Cancer Screening (PDQ®)–Patient Version.” National Cancer Institute, www.cancer.gov/types/testicular/patient/testicular-screening-pdq.
- “Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Nov. 2019, www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/index.htm.
- “National Men’s Health Week.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 June 2019, www.cdc.gov/features/healthymen/index.html.
- Nohr, Melissa, and Melissa Nohr. “Vitamin D Deficiency: Common Symptoms and Solutions.” DrJockers.com, 25 Apr. 2020, drjockers.com/vitamin-d-deficiency.
- “Quitting Smoking.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Nov. 2019, http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/cessation/quitting/index.htm.