Avoid these behaviors, and you can decrease your risk for the top threats to men’s health.

Avoiding the Doctor

Men are notorious for avoiding doctor’s offices and brushing off unusual symptoms or problems. If you notice an unusual problem or find you’re experiencing something that just won’t go away, it’s important to see your doctor. In many cases, it may be no big deal, but knowing is better than ignoring.

Smoking

Smoking greatly increases your risk of heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Studies show that light or occasional smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke have the same effect on your lungs as chain smoking. No amount is safe.

Eating Fatty, Salty, or Sugary Foods

Diets high in fat, sodium, and sugar can cause diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. If left untreated, all these conditions can damage and weaken your heart’s muscles, upping your chances for heart disease and heart attack. Plus, it’s thought that high blood pressure, heart disease, and high cholesterol may also increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Ignoring Chronic Stress

Although occasional stress is often unavoidable, persistent or chronic stress can be harmful. It may tax your heart muscles, increase blood pressure, and elevate levels of the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine.

Drinking Heavily

Two glasses of wine or spirits every day might cut your risk of heart disease, but more than that will increase your risk of several health problems. Excess alcohol use is bad for every single organ in your body.

Tanning

Limit your sun exposure, especially if you aren’t wearing sun-protective clothing or sunscreen. Unprotected exposure to the sun’s rays increases your risk of skin cancer.

Gaining Excess Weight

Being overweight is one of the most common risk factors for many health problems, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and kidney disease. Maintaining a healthy weight is a positive step toward cutting your risks.

Dismissing Signs of Depression

Suicide is a leading cause of death in American men, and depression is a key indicator of suicide. Don’t ignore signs of depression. Talk with your doctor if you’re feeling sluggish or extra tired, if you experience loss of appetite, if you’re irritable or easily agitated, or if you no longer have a sex drive.

Ignoring Your Doctor’s Advice

Modern medicine is often miraculous, but if you don’t comply with your doctor’s instructions for dealing with a condition, you increase your risk of complications as well as up the chances of making the situation worse. Take all medicines your doctor prescribes, even if you feel better before the entire prescription is gone. Some conditions have specific diets that help your body cope naturally. Sticking with your plan paves the way for a happier journey toward wellness.