What should you know about men's health? Men live sicker and die younger than women. Yet that doesn’t have to be true. June is National Men’s Health Month. It’s time for men to step up and take care of their health. Consider this:
- Men die at higher rates than women from the top 10 causes of death.
- In 1920, women lived, on average, one year longer than men. Now, men, on average, die almost five years earlier than women.
One reason for these statistics is that men engage in more dangerous occupations, such as coal mining. Also, a higher percentage of men have no health insurance. Research shows men’s attitudes about health plays a role as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control, women are 100 percent more likely visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men.
Seven Steps for Improving Men's Health:
- Make an appointment for a checkup and physical. Regular visits to the doctor each year can save your life. During those visits, your physician will run tests and look for signs of serious diseases. A regular checkup ensures a better chance of addressing health concerns before it’s too late.
- Keep track of extra tests needed and get them done. Beginning at age 50, men should receive a prostate exam every one to two years. Men often feel uncomfortable about this exam, but it is critical to catching prostate cancer early. At age 50 men should also get a colonoscopy every 10 years. While this exam is also uncomfortable, these two tests can save your life.
- Make healthy lifestyle choices. Society, as a norm, discourages healthy behaviors in men and boys. Start a trend by choosing to exercise, eat well, quit smoking, drink less alcohol, and more.
- Have conversations with male friends. While society may make your healthy choices seem less appealing, you can help this change by mentioning your doctor checkups to other men. Men are often less comfortable sharing such details, and we’re not suggesting you give the moment-by-moment account of your prostate exam. However, mentioning your appointment is a good reminder to others to schedule theirs.
- Educate yourself about heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States. In 2013, 321,000 men died from it — that’s one in four. You know some of the main contributors: high blood pressure and/or cholesterol, obesity, lack of exercise, poor diet, and excessive alcohol use. Learn more about heart disease and take steps to prevent it.
- Take charge of your health. Men are more reluctant to go to the doctor when they experience symptoms. “Oh it’s probably nothing” is something you might have thought. While that might be true, it might not. Take charge of your health by investigating odd symptoms.
- Take part in Men’s Health Month activities. Wear blue on June 16 and share your photos on social media with the hashtags #ShowUsYourBlue and #MensHealthMonth. Doing this will help spread word.
Do you have questions about men's health? Contact us to set up your annual physical or to come in and chat with a doctor about any concerns.