What to Know About Men’s Health
The saying “the best defense is a good offense” doesn’t just apply to sports and military tactics – it’s also true for your health. Taking a proactive approach to health is a challenge for many men. Men’s health issues often become a cause for concern because they are statistically more likely to avoid addressing ailments. According to the CDC, women are 33 percent more likely to visit the doctor than men, and women are far better at maintaining screening and preventive care.
The good news? Many common men’s health issues are preventable with routine care and treatable with early detection, making your annual checkup an essential wellness tactic. Whether it has been a while since your last visit or someone you love needs a gentle reminder, start implementing healthy living decisions today and together we can help reduce the stigma of men seeking care by providing applicable ways to start prioritizing health.
Get screened for the most common cancers
Living a healthier life and being there for yourself and your loved one takes a lifelong commitment. But you don’t have to do it alone. Scheduling regular check-ups with your healthcare provider can help with early detection and make issues easier to treat. Proactively screening for certain cancers is especially important in men. The most common cancers include:
- Colorectal cancer: A screening can detect polyps before they turn into cancer. Men over the age of 45 should be screened every year.
- Prostate cancer: Screenings may include a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test and a digital rectal exam (DRE). According to American Cancer Society, there are about 175,000 new cases of prostate cancer each year, making it the most common cancer among men. Screening is typically conducted annually starting at age 50, but you should speak with your provider to determine the best plan based on your risk factors.
- Testicular cancer: The most common cancer in males ages 15-39. There is a very high cure rate if discovered early by self-examination or by a provider.
- Lung cancer: Not all males need regular lung cancer screenings. If you are 55-80 years old, have a history of heavy smoking or are high risk for any other reasons, your provider may recommend yearly low-dose CT scans to check for cancer.
- Skin cancer: People of all ages should request an annual skin exam as a preventive tactic to catch skin cancer before it spreads, especially if you notice any new or abnormal spots or moles on your skin.
Getting regular physical activity and making healthy choices is crucial for all of us. It can improve sleep and reduce the risk of many chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease – a leading cause of death in men. Studies have repeatedly indicated that some of the most common chronic conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or some cancers, are caused or made worse by lifestyles of poor nutrition and physical inactivity. To improve the statistics, make healthy choices that will last, such as improving your nutrition and incorporating regular physical activity. Check out these five recipes for heart health that you can start incorporating today. Consistent exercise can help control weight, strengthen your bones and muscles, prevent disease, improve mental health, and more. Adhering to a physical activity schedule can be tough, but it doesn’t need to be. You can add simple exercises from the comfort of your home to your routine to help you feel your best.
Address Mental Health
Along with prioritizing regular healthcare provider visits and incorporating fitness into your routine, mental health is just as important as physical health. A study from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that men with mental illness are less likely to have received mental health treatment than women in the past year, however, men are more likely to die by suicide than women. First, it is important to know that if you or someone you know is having thoughts about hurting themselves or committing suicide‚ please seek immediate help. If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed, know that behavior change does not happen overnight – it is a gradual process. Consider aligning your goals with the seven pillars of lifestyle medicine, a holistic approach to healthcare that promotes healthy behavior change. Lifestyle medicine focuses on nutrition, sleep, emotion wellbeing, movement, getting outdoors, living a life free from substances, and maintaining healthy relationships. As the number of people experiencing burnout or battling a mental health issue continues to rise, don’t ignore your emotional wellbeing. Focus on positivity, meaningful relationships, and surround yourself with a healthy community.
Don’t wait until it’s too late – let’s break the stigma of men seeking care together. Be proactive and make sure you’re up to date on all recommended health screenings, create healthy habits, and prioritize your mental health.