According to the latest CDC report on leading causes of death among males in the United States, the top two causes are heart disease and cancer. These two diseases make up almost a half of the deaths among males and are, by far, the biggest causes of death compared to any other diseases or accidents.
The CDC noted that heart disease kills 1 in every 4 men. Think about that statistic for a minute…1 in every 4 men will die of heart disease. How many men are in your family – your father, grandfather, uncles, or brothers? Based on this statistic, one of them will likely die from heart disease. In addition, half of the men who die suddenly from heart disease never had a symptom, even though they may have still been at risk. The biggest risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high LDL (bad) cholesterol and smoking. In addition, obesity, diabetes, lack of physical activity and excessive alcohol use are risk factors.
The National Cancer Institute identified several risk factors that, if avoided, may lower your risk of developing certain cancers. Like heart disease, potential cancer risk factors include smoking, obesity and excessive alcohol use, as well as diet, sunlight, radiation, and others.
What can you do to help prevent your loved one – and yourself – from developing these diseases? Try to reduce the risk factors. When you see your dad this Father’s Day, here are 3 things you can look for to see if he has these risk factors and help reduce them:
- Check out your dad’s kitchen. Are there any fruits, vegetables, healthy grains or lean meat? Is the food fresh or is it expired? Take inventory and go shopping with or for him. If he doesn’t cook for himself and there is no one in the house to cook for him, prepare some meals ahead of time that you can bring with and put in the freezer. Make sure there are specific heating instructions on the containers so he knows how to heat the meal without zapping foil in the microwave or melting a plastic container in the oven. If your dad eats healthier foods, he should be able to reduce his weight, if that is a concern, lower cholesterol and possibly get diabetes under control.
- Watch your dad. Does he look like he has gained weight since the last time you saw him? Does he have a hard time going from a seated position to standing or is he off-balance when walking? Pay attention to the little things. He may need to get more physical activity to work on balance or reduce some weight. The combination of eating better and getting more exercise than what we’re used to can help us all feel better.
- Check for bad habits. Is your dad a smoker or drinker? Smoking is a bad habit that needs to be given up, no matter what your age! That may not be so easy if your dad has been smoking for a long time or is very set in his ways. However, there are a variety of products and services available to help people reduce their nicotine intake and eventually quit smoking. Those may be options you can explore for your dad. If your dad is a drinker, do you know how much? Does drinking affect any medications he may be on? Excessive alcohol use is a risk factor for both heart disease and cancer, and can cause weight gain, mood swings, irritability, balance issues, forgetfulness and more!
In general, look and listen at your dad’s appearance and his surroundings. He was there for you to clean up wounds when you fell and kill spiders that you sure were going to ‘attack.’ Father’s Day is the perfect time to watch and learn from him, this time to help him!
At Assisting Hands Home Care we can provide your dad (or mom) with safe transportation to and from doctors and other appointments, grocery shopping or other in-home care services. Whether you need someone to be with them during the day, in the evening or overnight, we can accommodate your needs. You will sleep better knowing that they aren’t home alone when they need help with medication, fall prevention, personal care, eating or other needs.