National Men's Health Month
June is National Men’s Health Month
With Father’s Day and the transition of Spring into Summer, men often find themselves becoming more active in June. This is great because National Men’s Health Month is a time for men and those who love them to focus on health issues that are often overlooked or altogether avoided by men.
If you’re a guy, pay attention. If you have a special guy in your life, now is the time to help him get/stay healthy.
Guys, Let’s Talk About Your Habits
Here’s some food for thought: on average, men die 5 years sooner than women, and rank higher in 9 out of 10 of the leading causes of death (including cardiovascular disease and suicide). Your health matters.
Humans are creatures of habit, both good and bad. Men, there has never been a better time to start (or reinforce) some healthy habits that will keep you at your prime for years to come. It’s time to consider the things you’ve been avoiding.
Do you eat a salad every day? Great!
Your snack of choice is a fruit? It should be!
Do you try to do a bit of cardio in the form of walking the dog, playing outside, and going on hikes or bike rides with the kids? Even better!
Those are great habits, and you should keep them up, but these are not the habits we’re talking about here. When was the last time you had a physical? Last year? A few years ago? Don’t be ashamed. You’re not alone. The unfortunate truth is that men are statistically far less likely to go to the doctor than women, especially if it is for an “embarrassing” procedure or problem.
You shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed, you should go get a physical. Your life could depend on it.
The Dangers of Skipping a Physical
Here’s a (not-so) fun fact for you: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men with nearly 1 in 13 living with some form of cardiovascular disease and heart disease being the cause of 25% of all male deaths in the United States according to the CDC.
Illustration- 1 in 13 men are living with cardiovascular disease
“Half of the men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease.” – Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Why Men Need to Visit their Doctor Regularly
The CDC notes that the risk for heart disease can be greatly decreased with a healthy lifestyle, diet, and annual check-ups. You may be good at (or at least working at) your diet and getting more physically active, but the third recommendation is just as important. After a physical and maybe some blood work, a personalized plan be created between you and your physician to help you get and stay healthy.
Your medical professional is great at planning for heart health, disease prevention, and more. This kind of plan can help you to know your blood pressure, determine if testing for diabetes is needed, help you to know and understand your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and discuss mental health and great stress-relieving tips!
Doctors can also recommend very important, and often avoided, screening for cancer. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in men and according to the American Cancer Society, starting at age 45 men should start regular prostate screening for cancer. In fact, as many as 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer so screening for early detection is important. A simple 3-5 second exam could save your life!
Now it’s Really Time to Man Up…
Let’s talk about colon cancer. According to the website stopcoloncancernow.com, 1 in 20 men will develop colon cancer. The good news is that it is very detectable thanks to colonoscopies. These procedures are extremely successful at screening for, diagnosing and treating (even stopping potential) colon cancer.
What You Need to Know About a Colonoscopy
Men generally don’t like the idea of a colonoscopy. Some feel it’s invasive and unnecessary while others just don’t understand it and are too embarrassed to ask. Here are 3 facts you need to know about the benefits of a colonoscopy.
- The exam is very thorough as it examines most of the colon from the rectum to the cecum and can detect a vast number of health issues that are usually not able to be detected by other means.
- A colonoscopy can detect and remove polyps. Polyps are usually benign masses that can potentially cause cancer, so early detection and removal through colonoscopy can save you a lot of time, pain, health problems, and money!
- A colonoscopy can detect internal bleeding called Gastrointestinal bleeding.
“Colorectal cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Screening tests can find precancerous polyps, so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests also can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best.”- CDC
Get Healthy, Stay Healthy!
Your mental health matters too. As we mentioned earlier, men are more likely to complete suicide than women. The CDC states that 1 in 10 men are likely to experience some form of anxiety or depression. It's okay to seek help. Realizing you are experiencing depression isn't a weakness, it's a strength, and so is knowing when and how to ask for help.
1 in 10 men experience anxiety or depression
Get outside, go for a jog. Make it apart of your morning or evening routine. Download apps like Google Fit or get a Fitbit. What better month then National Men’s Health Month to kickstart the next healthy chapter in your life?
It all starts by setting up that appointment with your doctor that you have been putting off. Set up that annual visit, make a plan, and stick with it. Your family, friends, and body will thank you!