Every June, Men’s Health Month is celebrated across the country with a variety of events. This health education program provides screenings, health fairs, media appearances, and other outreach activities aimed towards building awareness for preventable health problems for men and boys. Specifically, it encourages them to make sure they stay in good health by seeking early detection and treatment for illness and injuries alike.
Men’s Health Month – Be aware of the greatest risks
1. Cardiovascular disease
Out of all the preventable health concerns that affect men, the biggest and most deadly is cardiovascular disease. This condition greatly affects both men and women, but men are twice as likely to die from heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, more than one in three adult men have some form of heart disease. Stroke ranks second in most deaths per year and is estimated to affect 2.8 million U.S. men.
In cardiovascular disease, cholesterol plaque builds up over time in the heart. This build-up can narrow the arteries in the heart and brain leading to decreased blood flow and heart pain. This plaque can then rupture, which creates a blood clot that could cause a heart attack or stroke.
Major risk factors for heart disease, as well as stroke include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and family history. Other factors include being overweight, being physically inactive, and diabetes.
2. Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in men behind skin cancer. Over 220,000 men will develop it this year alone. Nearly three million men in the U.S. currently have prostate cancer. A man is 35% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than a woman is to have breast cancer. Approximately 30,000 men in the U.S. die from prostate cancer each year.
Prostate cancer is one disease that is essential to catch early as many times symptoms do not occur until the cancer has grown to a dangerous level. When it is caught in the earliest stages, the remission rate is nearly 100% over a five-year period.
Major risk factors include age, a family history, and is most commonly found in those of African American descent. Age particularly is a powerful indicator as after the age of 40, the chances of this disease jump significantly. 97% of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 50.
Injuries are one of the top health concerns for the modern man. Men are far more likely to want to fix a car then concentrate on their own needs and this behavior can have disastrous results. Men are at a greater risk of death in every age group and, on average, die five years sooner than women. Men are also more prone to take unnecessary risks and account for 92% of fatal workplace injuries.
Men also have a tendency to dismiss pain or wait until it is severe before seeking treatment. According to the CDC, on average, woman visit the doctor 33% more than men each year and this is after discounting visits for prenatal care. Men also are much less likely to have health insurance and injuries were rated as a leading cause of death in men in 2006.
4. Mental health concerns
Mental health can be affected by numerous factors, such as going through a traumatic event like the death of a loved one or a stressful time like moving into a new home. It is quite common for everyone to hit emotional low points during these times, but it can become dangerous if these feelings persist. This is especially true if stress, depression, and anxiety start negatively affecting your every day activities.
According to the Men’s Health Network, men are four times as likely to commit suicide compared to women. It was believed that woman were much more likely to be depressed, but experts now believe men are suffering in greater than reported numbers, because they are less likely to openly show signs due to social stigma. Furthermore, it is believed that men show depression in different ways than women, including anger, risk-taking behavior, and alcohol and drug abuse.
Treatment and lifestyle changes to make this Men’s Health Month
Men’s health can be a difficult subject to tackle, but it is necessary to lead a healthy life. These health risks can be greatly mitigated by taking the proper preventative steps and realizing we all need help sometimes. With Father’s Day fast-approaching, make sure to give your family a healthier you this year by incorporating some of these lifestyle changes today.
- Focus on prevention: Prevention is far more effective than treatment! Check out this handy guide created by the Men’s Health Network that lays out the maintenance schedule for you body.
- Eat a healthy diet and maintain your weight: Try to reduce saturated fats in your diet and eat more veggies, fruits, and whole grains. Shedding excess weight can also do wonders for your current health as well as lower your risks for most health conditions.
- Limit your nasty habits or kick them all together: If you are a smoker, stop now. Try to avoid secondhand smoke as well. If you don’t want to stop drinking altogether, try to limit your consumption to two glasses a day.
- Exercise: Not only does 30 minutes of physical activity a day make you feel better, it also lowers your risk of all kinds of health conditions, such as heart disease and various cancers.
- Rein in the stress: Mental health is just as important as physical health. If you are constantly stressed out, it can have some serious side effects on your body and mind. Practice coping strategies. Allow time for self-care. Talk about issues when they arise.