Men's Health: Tips for Baby Boomers

“Baby boomers” is a common term used to describe people born in the years ranging from 1946-1964. Of those, about half are male - the fathers, grandfathers and male leaders of our community who we love and respect.

It’s a guy thing.

Stephen E. Metzner, M.D., of Meritus Primary Care, explains that the biggest difference between men and women in this age group is their sex organs. Health challenges like diabetes, blood pressure or obesity are common for all, but only male baby boomers are beginning to develop erectile dysfunction and prostate issues.

“An enlarged prostate starts to develop in a man’s 50s or 60s, with 60 percent of men in their 60s having some type of prostate issues,” says Dr. Metzner.

He explains that he sees male baby boomers in his office frequently — usually for regular checkups and care for existing conditions like chronic lung disease or diabetes. As a group, their common goal is “to stay independent, intact and functional.”

The best medicine is a healthy lifestyle.

Men between the ages of 54 and 72 often tell Dr. Metzner that they feel like they are falling apart or “losing it” cognitively, to which he recommends integrating these three simple steps -

  1. Exercise on a regular basis.
  2. Eat healthy - especially fresh fruits, vegetables and lean, nutritious proteins like fish - and avoid processed foods.
  3. Get an adequate amount of sleep every night.

Dr. Metzner reminds his patients regularly that, “no amount of medicine can overcome an unhealthy lifestyle.”

Sleep is essential.

After retirement, it can be easy to settle into a sedentary lifestyle, which damages sleep quality. According to Dr. Metzner, men in the baby boomer age group who are struggling to fall asleep at night should try creating a sleep routine and should exercise more regularly.

He says that an effective sleep routine can be as basic as committing to go to sleep at the same time every evening and wake up consistently in the morning. This, combined with added physical activity, can have an enormous impact on sleep quality.

Don’t wait for a health scare.

All too often, male baby boomers wait for a life-altering event to happen before they are motivated to change their lifestyle. Dr. Metzner suggests that instead of waiting for a heart attack or stroke, older men should take charge of their health now to help prevent these experiences in the future.

“Older men need to realize that what they are doing is often creating the problems they are experiencing,” says Dr. Metzner. “They have the power to change that.”

Making proactive health decisions now can save your body significant complications and medication needs as you age, he says.

Dr. Metzner hopes every male baby boomer realizes one thing – that he is “responsible for his own life and what he makes of it.” “What you do with it is your choice,” he says. “I encourage you to do things that are healthier so you can reap the rewards.”

Meritus Health, at 11116 Medical Campus Road, east of Hagerstown, is the largest health system in the area, providing hospital and outpatient services to the community. Subscribe to Your Health Matters, a monthly e-newsletter with important health information, at