June is National Men’s Health Month
June 14, 2018 07:42 PM
Did you know that men make half as many preventative visits to their physicians as women do? Unfortunately, this is the reality we live in. While there is a large focus on women’s health in America, some men may feel “immune” and don’t see the point in getting themselves checked before anything is actually wrong. It’s time for that to change, which is why June is recognized as National Men’s Health Month to raise awareness for preventable health problems and encourage early detection of disease in men.
Know Your Facts
Sadly, one in two men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, compared to one in three women, and on average, women will outlive men by five years. In fact, by the age 100, women outnumber men eight to one, even though more males are born than females. Not only that, but men have a higher death rate for most of the leading causes of death, including heart disease, diabetes, and suicide. So why do men still schedule less appointments with their physicians than women? That’s a question no one can definitively answer, but National Men’s Health Month seeks to switch the narrative and make that question obsolete.
Don’t sideline this issue, but learn the facts and understand that many of these causes of death are preventable. So, what do you need to get checked and how often? Every year you should schedule a physical exam, have your blood pressure checked, and have a rectal exam. Once you hit 50, you should begin yearly blood tests, EKG exams, and PSA tests to screen for prostate cancer. Additionally, after you reach 50, you should have a colon exam every 3-4 years. Finally, make sure you perform monthly self-exams, and if you feel any abnormalities, contact your doctor and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Take time to become aware of your health, and health risks, and act before it’s too late.
There’s Always More to Do
Of course it’s important to visit your physician and screen yourself for preventable diseases, but your focus on health shouldn’t stop there. There are many different ways to take care of your body, and one of the easiest is to eat healthy. This doesn’t mean changing your diet completely, nor do you need to cut out all the foods you love, but start simple by eating a healthy breakfast, and maybe saying no to fast food and opt for a healthy alternative instead. Additionally, make sure to eat fruits and vegetables with every meal, and drink lots of water. It may not seem like a major change, but it can make a big impact in your overall health, especially for those who are at risk of high cholesterol.
The next step you should take is to get moving. It’s important that you do not remain stationary for a majority of the day, but that you get your muscles moving and your heart pumping. Play with your kids outside, go to the park, join a pick up league after work, or take a leisurely walk after dinner. Try a variety of activities until you find what motivates you to get out and be active.
Finally, make “man time” for yourself, and your friends. Your emotional health is just as important as your physical health, but can often be forgotten. Take time with your friends; go to a game together, play trivia at the local bar, or just hang out and catch up. Friendships can often take a backseat throughout the chaos that is work and family, but give them a turn in the passenger seat every now and then and take the time to stay connected.
Men’s Health is Year-Round
While June may be National Men’s Health Month, men’s health is year-round. This is a great time to raise awareness and spread the facts, but that can, and should, happen outside of June as well. And though it is men’s health, that does not mean it’s limited to only men. Women can play an important role in this discussion as well by reminding the men in their life to schedule regular appointments with their doctors and to join them in eating healthy and moving. For all men, it’s time to make your health a priority, for yourself, and for those who count on you.