Suppose one evening you picked up your newspaper and the headlines screamed: ONE MILLION AMERICAN MEN ARE SUICIDES.
“Fantastic,” you might say. “What is thisanother `Man from Mars’ hoax?”
It is no hoax. It is precisely what nearly a million American men do yearly. They kill themselves just as surely as if they jumped into the East River, played Russian roulette, or swallowed poison.
Their suicides, while less spectacular, are more tortured. They suffer the crippling pain of strokes. Or they allow coronary thrombosis to choke off the blood supply to their hearts.
“Thou shalt not kill” is one of the Ten Commandments. And it does not mean only that you must not kill others; it also means that you must refrain from killing yourself!
What, then, are the reasons for this mass murder? This national tragedy that leaves millions of widows and orphans in its wake?
Ignorance is one.
American men have learned to build pathways through the skies, to manufacture atoms for peace and hydrogen bombs for war, but few have learned the proper respect and treatment for the most complex creation of allthe human body.
Neglect is another reason. Too many men neglect to have physical checkups, neglect proper nutrition, until it’s too late. Diseases that might have been prevented take their toll, and lives that could have been saved by early diagnosis and treatment are lost.
“The main fact is that a man must be conscious of his own limitations,” says Dr. Robert Collier Page, medical consult-ant to industry. “An adult who is not cognizant of his own physical limitations is in danger.”
Periodic health checkups are the best guard against serious illness. Failure to have them is the greatest contributor to man’s untimely death in middle ageor at any age.
Heart disease, cancer, kidney trouble, strokes, and respiratory diseases are potential killers. They sneak up on you and wear down your body machinery while you’re still barreling sixty or seventy miles an hour down the road of life.
How important is the physical checkup economically? The Research Council for Economic Security believes that this precaution could drastically reduce the absenteeism now costing industry between five billion and ten billion dollars annually. The council suggests that the industrial health program include periodic examinations and follow-up of illnesses.
Cancer deaths dramatically express the futility of too late. Dr. Charles S. Cameron, medical and scientific director, American Cancer Society, says that there are 8o,000 needless deaths from cancer yearly in the United States.
Much of the responsibility for the recognition and early treatment of this disease is yours alone.
Twenty years ago, lung cancer was comparatively rare. Today it occurs more frequently than any other major form of cancer. Its mortality has increased at an alarming rate. Second only to cancer of the stomach on the list of cancer killers, it is chiefly a disease of males.
The common cough is the first warning of this dread disease, which strikes ten men for every woman. Its early diagnosis depends on X rays of the chest. If you’re over forty-five, have a chest X ray at regular six-month intervals. Track down the cause of that cough if it lasts more than a few weeks.
Death masquerades in the common cold! Fifty thousand Americans die yearly of influenza and pneumonia in spite of modern antibiotics. Don’t ignore that first warning sniffle, cough, or sore throat. The primary treatment to be given for all respiratory infections, at their onset, is rest and a diet rich in vitamins C and A.
Dr. Garret E. Winter, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, says “God helps those who help themselves.” Disregard the ad-vice for a yearly physical checkup after forty and you invite disaster. The almost 800,000 who die yearly of diseases of the heart and blood vessels are mute testimony to this.
The male premature death rate is 36 per cent higher than that of the female. Why is this? Women generally escape the consequences of worry and frustration by exploding their feelings through tears and other emotional outlets. But under our social mores, men are not permitted this relief. From the time he is a little boy, the male child is told, “Big boys don’t cry.” So the big boy grows up holding in his tensionand becomes a victim of ulcers, high blood pressure, or coronary disease.
All too often, the tense husband returns after a day of nervous strain to be greeted by a nagging wife. The husband is unable to relax. This subjects him to a tension that eventually breaks him down in health and spirit. Hen-pecking is a great contributor to ulcers and high blood pressure.
What is the most frequent problem of the 15,000 men yearly driven to self-destruction? They are nagged all too often with the complaint, “Why can’t we have things the way other people do?” With this lament, and others like it, a wife can make her husband feel like pretty small potatoes!
Men should rise up and remonstrate.
Husbands should go on strike. Outlaw this menace to male health-nagging.
Overambitious wives, complaining wives, nagging wives! Did you really take your husband for better or worse when you married him? “Well, yes,” you may say. “But I just want us to live as well as all our friends do.”
That was Joan Winter’s excuse. “Charlie wants me to be well dressed. And he loves a nice home as much as I do.”
But Charlie didn’t have time to enjoy his wife or his home. To keep up with her increasing demands, he worked far into the night. He ignored his twinges of indigestion and laughed off the shortness of breath.
After his sudden death Joan said: “I wish I still had the choice. It wouldn’t be hard to decide which I’d rather live on-my husband’s income or his life insurance!”
Charlie, like all husbands, needed time to be lazy. He needed the peace of mind that comes from being able to meet bills on time without lying awake at night figuring out how to do it. He needed a wife to stand between him and too much pressure, a home filled with love and harmony.
Too late Joan realized the same thing the Princess of Liechtenstein observed during her visit to this country:
“American men work too hard. They do not seem to have enough time to enjoy life’s little pleasures.”
The damage from this wear and tear shows up in the middle years. Dr. Robert Collier Page says that at the age of forty certain normal health changes appear. As the years march on, more changes occur.
The average executive in the United Statesthere are some thirty thousand with incomes of $50,000 or moregets up early, rushes to his office by train or auto, stays there until at least 6 P.M. Then he rushes home, eats a quick dinner, and dives into a briefcase full of homework. He may try to combine his social evenings with professional dinners, conferences and other work.
When does he relax? Certainly not during luncheon, where he makes many important business decisions while he gulps down a heavy meal that overloads his jittery stomach. The higher he climbs up the ladder of success, the more pressed he is for time.
More than half the businessmen who come in for checkups at Boston’s famed Lahey Clinic are so keyed up that they must be warned by the doctors to slow downor face heart disease, colitis, high blood pressure, or any one of a host of other diseases.
Russell L. Moberly, director of Marquette University’s Management Center, says: “All of us are constantly running into situations that cause dozens of reactions to shorten our lives, but we must learn the art of relaxing.”
If you wake up every morning dreading the day’s work, tense and tired before you startfind yourself another jobs Unchecked, those bottled-up tensions can tear you to pieces. There are jobs in which you can be both happy and successful. Find the right one and avoid a breakdown.
Dr. Lucien A. Brouha, of Dupont’s Haskell Laboratory for Toxicology and Industrial Medicine, says that you have a bank account of energy, which you build up by deposits to your credit during rest. As you work, you make withdrawals from your account, or energy reserve. If you withdraw more than you put in, you overdraw your account, and exhaustion sets in. Hours spent in mental work are more fatiguing than a pick-and-shovel job.
When fatigue reaches the state of exhaustion, the moods of depression it creates are dangerous. Physical conditions con-tribute to neurastheniaundernourishment, in particular. Psychogenic fatigue prolongs it. The remedies? For the body, better nutrition. For the mind, optimism and hope.
Your nervous system is your communications system. It integrates you and enables you to function as a whole. Through your nerves you relay the messages that your body receives from the outside environment by way of the skin, the ears, the eyes, the tongue, the nose, to a central switch-board called your brain.
Worry throws this intricate system into a panic.
Abuse your nerves and you destroy that sensitive system, neuron by neuron. You can overtax the nerve cells with chronic fatigue, kill them with injury or disease, or starve them with a diet inadequate in proteins, vitamins, and minerals. These cells, once gone, are gone forever. They cannot replace themselves.
Your entire autonomic nervous system is thrown into action when you are in an excited emotional state. Your salivary glands are inhibited and your mouth becomes dry. Your glands secrete extra adrenalin and other hormones. Your heartbeat increases. Your blood pressure rises.
Dr. Hans Selye, a Canadian research physiologist, has shown that stress can produce almost any disease by its effect on the body’s hormonal output. He says that stress of any kind, whether physical or emotional, creates an alarm reaction which causes the glands to pour out excess hormones, and the internal chemical balance is consequently thrown out of order.
The unhappy man is a liability not only to himself but to industry.
An executive is a high-priced commodity, whose actual worth is a dozen times his annual salary. But if he is losing sleep because of his problems, if he is worried, nervous, or apprehensive, if he is unable to take responsibility or needs a drink to get his work donethen that executive is a poor investment.
It’s the worried men, the unhappy men, who are involved in 75 per cent of the industrial accidents.
The famous psychiatrist Dr. William C. Menninger, of the Menninger Clinic, in Topeka, Kansas, says: “To be able to create a mentally healthy climate in his organization, an executive must be wise enough to apply mental health measures to himself. He should be able to recognize that if the stress is great enough in the environment in which the person works, that person will break. For the business, this spells organizational disruption. But for the person who has reached his breaking point, it can mean alcoholism, suicide or murder.”
C.B.S. President Frank Stanton works a seven-day week, often ten hours a day. But, as Thomas Edison used to do, he relaxes easily and often, and takes a cat nap whenever he has a spare moment.
Bernard Baruch, a millionaire at thirty, started giving ad-vice to presidents back in 1917. Now an octogenarian, he is far more active and vigorous than the average man of sixty. He is always in bed by midnight and sleeps soundly through-out the night.
“Death begins at forty!”
That’s what Dr. Clive M. McCay, of Cornell University, tells us. He says it’s around this age that a man looks back over his first four decades, then decides to do something about his remaining three decades by recharting his whole life.
He goes into a middle-aged revolt. Fearful of getting old, he worries about his love-life. But sterility and impotence are not the results of age. They stem from nutritional disorders or from psychological blocks. Sexual vigor can and should last many years past middle life. Even prostate difficulties are now treated without loss of fertility.
Don’t go into the proverbial tailspin. Don’t try to be a playboy without the talent for it, a Don Juan without the fervor for it, nor an athlete without the build for it. Moderate exercise, certainly. But don’t try to outdo the lads on Muscle Beach.
It isn’t old age that brings disease. Rather, it’s disease that brings old age.
Dr. Frederick J. Stare, professor of nutrition at Harvard, says: “Fatigue, anemia and low resistance . . . may be due to a low protein intake, poor distribution of protein and an impaired protein utilization.”
If you’d like to look, feel, and act ten years youngerand who doesn’t?if you’d like to repair the damaging effects of accident, illness, strain, ignorance, or neglect, it’s in your power to do so.
Beginning today, at your very next mealand for the rest of your lifeput yourself on a diet rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other substances, which I shall discuss later in this book.
Good nutritional habits can improve your health from poor to good, from good to optimum. Strengthen your body’s resistance to disease and you increase its capacity for repair.
The Medical Society of the State of New York tells us that all the organs in the body are so closely linked that a minor problem in one is likely to have serious, even life-shortening, effects on the body as a whole. After your annual checkup and this is the most important part of ityou should receive a summary of what was found, an explanation of what this can mean to your body as a whole, and advice on what you can do about it.
Much that can be done depends on you. Perhaps even more depends upon your wife. What will she do about it? Will she nag you into killing tensions, break you physically and financially with excessive demandsor kill you off with grease-trap disease?
Not your wife? For your sake, I hope not.
Helpmate is a word that has gone out of fashion. Too bad, isn’t it? Because that is precisely what a wife should be. A combination of mother, friend, companion, loverand dietitian.
The dietitian would not feed her overworked husband an indigestible, high-fat diet. She knows that the fat, by turning into excess cholesterol, would clog his blood vessels and choke up his coronary arteries. If necessary, she could rewrite the cookbooksmost off them need it!so that her husband would not obtain more than 20 per cent of his total calories from fats.
Unfortunately, most of us are not married to dietitians. Just plain wives (begging their pardon!).
And plain wives-even pretty onesmake mistakes in the care and feeding of husbands.
They must learn. The science of nutrition has grown to maturity since 1906. The food we eat sustains our very life.
But how many wives and mothers know the foods that are good or bad for their family?
Test your wife on her N.Q.nutrition quotient. Most women know the latest styles, but they lack the knowledge they need to feed a husband properly for his ordeal in the workaday world.
Remember Satchel Paige? He was still a winning major-league pitcher when he was almost fifty. Here, in his own homespun words, is what he has to say about food and about how he achieved a vigorous middle age. On the one: “Avoid fried meats, which angry up the blood.” As to the other: `”If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.”
That’s good advice at any age.
Knowledge is our weapon in the fight against disease. Facts and the courage and determination to use them. You can help yourself to a healthy body, or you can face death by de-fault. Success in living, as in any job, depends upon you. You can achieve what Dr. Alfred Adler, the famed Austrian psychiatrist, called “the human being’s power to turn a minus into a plus.”
Eddie Cantor learned how to do this. In the stock market crash of 1929 he lost $2,500,000. He laughed his worries away and started over again. Now, after a heart attack, he still refuses to be defeated. He’ll have no truck with tensions. He takes long walks every day, continues to work, cat naps when he needs the rest, and daydreams to stimulate his creativity.
There are 1,100 people around the world who belong to Mended Hearts, Incorporated. All former heart patients, they offer help and inspiration to other sufferers. Their motto is, “It’s great to be alive and to help others.”
Dr. Robert Collier Page tells us that the average man of sixty-five is actually older than his chronological age would suggest. A man should begin to taper off earlier in life to avoid the stresses of tension, the forerunners of heart disease.
As you grow older, live within your physical budget: have regular examinations to guard against illness, avoid nutritional deficiencesand enjoy a healthy, happy old age.
Now an octogenarian, former President Herbert Hoover takes excellent care of his health. After suffering a gall bladder attack at fifty-three, he cut fats and starches out of his diet, and is trimmer now than he was in his early fifties. He has a complete physical checkup every six months, and does all he can to keep himself fit. Each day he tops the benefits of a good night’s sleep with an early morning walk. He takes frequent vacations and refuses to let worry or frustration wear him down.
The head of ten major institutions, Mr. Hoover is still working for his country and its welfare.
If you weigh fifty pounds too much by the time you are fifty, your life expectancy is reduced by 50 per cent. Over-weight of 10 per cent or more puts a strain on the whole system. Improperly fed, overweight bodies invite invasion by chronic disease.
Why should you kill yourself? Whether it’s through carelessness, ignorance, overweight, tensions, or poor nutrition, you can do something about it!
Science tells us how to take positive steps to safeguard health, to prolong life. Shall we listen?
Dr. Frederick C. Schwartz, of Lansing, Michigan, inspired this book with his statement: “If we could apply systematically all the knowledge which lies within our hands today to everyone in the United States, we could increase the life expectancy ten years.”
The rewards for living in harmony with the laws of health are abundant vigor, optimism, courage, and freedom from pain.
The penalty for transgressing the laws of health is at first pain, suffering, and discomfort then death.
The three-quarters of a million who die yearly of diseases which could have been prevented or controlled if modern scientific knowledge and skills had been properly applied, violate God’s law, “thou shalt not kill.” They kill themselves in quest of whatsomething they feel they could call success?
Whatever it isthe reason for their slow suicide, for their literally taking their lives by their own handthe objective is one they never live to achieve.
How about you?