Across the country, Men’s Health Month is celebrated each June with screenings, health fairs, media appearances, and other health education and outreach activities. The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to create a heightened awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases among men and boys. Unfortunately, the “modern man” tends to take better care of his car or gadgets than himself leading to the steady deterioration of men’s health in the U.S. according to Men’s Health Network.
Therefore, now is the time for men to take action and start educating themselves with the knowledge needed to reduce their risk of the common health risks facing men today.
1. Heart Health
While heart disease takes on many different forms, each can be fatal if undiagnosed. Heart disease does not discriminate against age, race, or socio-economic status. More than 1 in 3 adult men have some form of heart disease and more than 3 million men experience a stroke according to the American Heart Association. Cholesterol, blood pressure, and smoking habits are all risk factors used to calculate the risk for cardiovascular disease. Routine check-ups and early detection are key to keeping a heart beating.
Action: Listen to your heart (or at least have a cardiologist do it)!
2. COPD and other Respiratory Diseases
Respiratory diseases such as lung cancer, emphysema, or COPD are all life-threatening conditions that impede your ability to breathe. Each year, more men are diagnosed with lung cancer than in the previous year leading to continued growth year-over-year according to the American Lung Association. While there are other risk factors, smoking is still the number one cause of lung cancer.
Action: Don’t smoke!
3. Alcohol-Related Deaths and Injuries
Men are more likely to drink to excess than women according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention increasing their risk for alcohol-related deaths and injuries including; hospitalization, motor vehicle accidents, physical assaults, and suicide. In addition, alcohol consumption increases the risk for mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon cancer as well as impacts fertility.
Action: Drink responsibly!
4. Depression and Suicide
Each year, at least 6 million men suffer from depressive disorders, including suicidal thoughts, according to The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). However, men are less likely than women to recognize, talk about, or seek treatment for depression making it that much more of a health risk for men. For anyone struggling with depression and considering suicide, please seek help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Action: Talk to someone!
5. Unintentional Injuries and Accidents
In 2015, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention listed Unintentional Injuries as the third leading cause of death in men. Such injuries included unintentional falls & poisonings as well as motor vehicle accidents.
Action: Use caution, and remember, safety first!
6. Liver Disease
The liver is a vital organ helping to digest food, absorb nutrients, and rid the body of toxic substances. A variety of illnesses can affect the liver making it unable to function properly including:
- Viral Hepatitis
- Autoimmune or Genetic Liver Diseases
- Bile Duct Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Alcoholic Liver Disease
Action: Take care of your liver, so it can take care of you!
Diabetes causes high blood sugar levels in the body due to defects in insulin production and/or function. Heart disease & stroke, nerve & kidney damage, and vision problems & blindness are all potential health risks attributed to diabetes if it is left untreated. Men can also struggle with low testosterone levels and sexual impotency leading to increased depression or anxiety. Exercise and a healthy diet along with periodic screenings are the best ways to prevent and control diabetes.
Action: Eat right and be active!
8. Influenza and Pneumonia
According to the American Lung Association, the risk of death from influenza (flu) and pneumococcal infection is 25% greater for men than women. Those men with compromised immune systems due to heart failure, COPD, diabetes, cancer, or AIDS (all diseases on this list) are at an even greater risk of contracting the flu or pneumonia.
Action: Get your flu shot!
9. Skin Cancer
In 2013, two-thirds of melanoma deaths were men according to the Skin Cancer Foundation which is more than double that of women. Skin cancer is easily prevented with the proper use of clothing, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen and by avoiding UV light sources such as tanning beds.
Action: Use sunscreen!
10. HIV and Aids
As of 2010, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, men account for 76% of people infected with HIV. However, because initial symptoms mimic a cold or flu, many men infected with HIV do not realize it causing them to unknowingly spread it to a partner.
Action: Get tested!
Education. Awareness. Prevention.
Educate yourself on the health risks affecting men and make yourself aware of the habits you need to keep or change to help prevent future illness. Learn more about Men’s Health Month today!