This year, June 15-21 is Men’s Health Week! Men are at risk for many of the same health issues as women, but one of the big factors that sets their health needs apart from those of women is how they deal with them. Men are generally more likely to skip their yearly physicals, engage in risky behaviors and neglect to manage stress. These habits can often worsen pre-existing conditions and cause men to have more problems, both physical and mental, farther down the road. Here are some of the most common health conditions that men experience and ways they can take care of them.
Common Health Conditions For Men
One of the greatest health issues that men face is the risk of heart attack and stroke, which usually result from blockages and narrowing in veins and arteries. These conditions can be worsened by genetics, high blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol, and these can be the result of overweight conditions, poor diet and exercise habits, high-stress livelihoods and risky lifestyle choices. 1 in 3 men struggle with cardiovascular disease in the United States and about 2.8 million suffer from strokes each year.
Four common types of cancer men contract are prostate, skin, lung and liver cancer. Lung and liver cancer can result in part from risky behaviors like smoking and excessive drinking. Prostate cancer is often linked to genetics, and it’s a good practice to get screened for it beginning around the age of 50. Also, men are about twice as likely as women to develop skin cancer (melanoma) because they are statistically less likely to wear sunscreen and less aware of the effects of the sun’s harmful rays. The physical differences between men’s and women’s skin may also be a factor. Therefore, staying safe in the sun and around other sources of UV light is important.
While diabetes affects both men and women, it often develops sooner in men because they don’t have to gain as much weight to contract it. Also, effectively treating diabetes usually requires fairly dramatic changes to diet, exercise, medication needs and doctor visits, and if those aren’t taken care of or monitored, men may find that diabetes becomes a much greater issue. Also, diabetes can cause impotence and lower testosterone levels, which can lead to mental health issues.
At least 6 million men across the nation suffer from depressive disorders and suicidal thoughts. But neglecting to acknowledge or seek help for mental health conditions is an all-too-common issue within the male population. Fortunately, the current state of awareness of the national mental health crisis has been decreasing the stigma attached to these needs, and it’s becoming more common for men to seek out solutions to their mental and emotional health. However, these issues still occur in many areas and can be easily hidden. If you experience depression or have suicidal thoughts, please know that you’re not alone and that help is available. Don’t let perceived obstacles or fear stand in the way of asking for help.
Given the high number of men involved in manual or trade labor industries in the United States, physical risks tend to be present in workplaces. Also, men are more likely to engage in dangerous physical activities than women. Therefore, the risk of men becoming physically injured throughout their lives is much higher and can be prevented by following proper safety protocols, getting plenty of rest (for focus), paying close attention to their surroundings and having emergency plans in place.
Things Men Can Do To Stay Healthy
Avoid Risky Lifestyle Choices
Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are two behaviors that men often indulge in which can lead to a number of health problems. Not only do they increase the risk of many kinds of cancer, but they can also lead to heart, respiratory, kidney and liver disease, and can contribute to overweightness that leads to high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
When doing work by hand or enjoying intense sports, it’s important to use protective equipment like masks/face shields, hard hats/helmets, gloves, aprons and appropriate eyewear. Not only will this prevent injury, but it will also prevent exposure to harmful chemicals and substances that can lead to disease, like paint fumes, sawdust, chemicals and toxic metals.
Diet and Exercise
Getting regular physical exercise and eating a balanced diet of protein, fiber and healthy carbohydrates are key to preventing many health conditions. Having a proper diet gives the fuel needed to get through the day, and exercise strengthens muscles, improves circulation and respiratory health, increases endurance and helps prevent or delay the onset of chronic health problems.
Creative Stress Management
Practicing daily stress-relief behaviors such as journaling, meditating, reading and listening to calming music can be helpful for exercising understanding and self-acceptance. It can also help with realizing the need to reach out to others or potentially make life changes.
Schedule An Appointment
An annual physical with a primary care physician can help men be aware of what’s going on inside their bodies and show them what steps they can take to stay as healthy as possible. They can get screened for various diseases and find ways to fight them off. If you’re ready to make your next annual appointment, contact us today!