How to Talk About Health Issues With Your Spouse

You love your spouse — but talking to your partner about their health issues can be tough, no matter how close you are. Because you want to help them remedy the problem, you look for creative ways to get them to take action. After all, you did promise to love them in sickness and in health — and given the choice, who wouldn’t opt for the latter?

But often, bringing up the issue can come off as being critical and lead to frustration for both you and your loved one. This can put a strain on your relationship, especially on top of the stress you already have from dealing with those health problems.

Looking for ways to talk to your spouse about these topics? Here are some common conditions that might be affecting your partner’s health and a few actions you can both put in place to improve the situation.

Overweight

You might remember a time when you and your partner ate healthier and physical activity was an integral part of your daily routine.

Even a minor loss of 5 to 10 percent of body weight can help reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and manage blood sugar. It can also increase your energy, mobility, mood and self-esteem.

Here are some steps that either you or your spouse can take when weight management is an issue:

  • Talk to your health care provider first, and get their recommendations on the best approach.
  • Write a contract with yourself and detail why it’s important.
  • Set reasonable goals, and don’t be hard on yourself.
  • Evaluate your progress, and adjust parts of your plan that need a tweak.

Snoring

About 90 million American adults snore. Those with the highest risk include men and people who are overweight, although snoring can be an issue for either sex. And of course, if one partner snores, the other is affected, too. You may both lose sleep, feel exhausted the next day, have trouble focusing and experience moodiness.

Here are some proven steps to reduce or even eliminate snoring that you can bring up with your spouse:

  • Lifestyle Changes: These include losing weight, adopting a new sleep position and diagnosing or treating allergies.
  • Appliances: You can buy devices online or have one designed by a dentist to apply pressure in the mouth and support the jaw.
  • CPAP Machine: A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) appliance is used to treat obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that can increase risk for dementia, heart attack and stroke. The user wears a mask that delivers pressurized air into the upper airway.
  • Surgery: While definitely a last-in-line option for more severe cases, surgery of the rear of the throat and roof of the mouth can improve snoring.

Bedroom Barriers

A healthy sex life is an important part of any relationship. Approximately 30 million males in the U.S. experience erectile dysfunction (ED). Your risk increases if you are older, take certain medications, are overweight or smoke.

If you or your partner are experiencing ED, talk to a health care professional. Your doctor may recommend medications or a change to those you take. They may suggest seeing a counselor if psychological issues are to blame. Stopping smoking and reducing or eliminating alcohol intake can also help, as can ramping up your physical activity and losing excess body weight.

Be a Team

While you’re helping your partner make positive changes, do a quick inventory of your own health habits. Two are better than one, in this case: It turns out that men and women have better odds of making positive health behavior changes if their loved one does the same. Dealing with health issues can certainly put strain on a marriage — but it can also be an opportunity for you and your partner to team up for better health.

*The content on this website is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Please consult a physician regarding your specific medical condition, diagnosis and/or treatment.

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