Men’s Health Week June 11-17, 2018
Men’s Health Week recognizes men’s health and what men can do to stay healthy. Men and women experience many of the same health issues, but there are a few issues that only men experience or are more likely to be diagnosed with than women.
The average life expectancy of men in the United States is 78 years old, and that number continues to climb every year. Some of the leading causes of death among men include cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and suicide. It is always important to get wellness checkups, physical exams, and mental health screenings to make sure you are in the best health you can be as young man. Some of these diseases are rare in young adults, but you can still take action to lower your risk of these health issues now. You will reap the benefits by prioritizing your health at a young age, because the better you take care of your body and mind now, the better you will feel in the years to come. Here are some of the top diseases and disorders men are at a high risk of getting and what can be done about each of these.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States among men and women, with about one in every five people dying from it. However, men develop atherosclerosis earlier than women do, which is a hardening of the arteries from buildup of plaque over time. This blocks the arteries in the heart and brain, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Looking at adolescent girls and boys, girls’ arteries are healthier than boys’ arteries, which is believed to be because females naturally have higher levels of HDL cholesterol, the good kind. This means that men have to work harder to reduce their risk of getting heart disease.
Ways to Lower Your Risk for Cardiovascular Disease
- Get your cholesterol levels checked at age 25, and every 5 years after that.
- Avoid processed foods and cut out food with trans fats and saturated fats.
- Avoid smoking cigarettes – the smoke clogs your arteries, raises levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), and lowers the levels of HDL cholesterol.
- Cigarette smoking also causes about 90% of all lung cancers. If you do not smoke cigarettes, your risk for developing lung cancer and heart disease is decreased.
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that only men have and is located below the bladder. This organ is responsible for producing fluids during male ejaculation. The prostate may become enlarged when men get older and can develop tumors. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, next to skin cancer. In the U.S., about 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed at some point in their lifetime with prostate cancer, with nearly 165,000 new cases diagnosed each year and about 30,000 deaths annually from prostate cancer.
What Can You Do to Lower Your Risk for Prostate Cancer?
- Change your diet – Consuming high amounts of red meat or high-fat dairy products can increase your risk for prostate cancer.
- Stop smoking
- Get to a healthy weight – Obesity is a risk factor
- Get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) – These can increase your chance of developing prostate cancer.
Depression & Suicide
Men committing suicide is considered the “silent epidemic,” because of high incidence rates and lack of public awareness, as well as many men not seeking help for depression. Unfortunately, depression and suicidal thoughts are a big health threat to men in the United States and all over the world. Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death among all men, and even higher among young men. This is a topic that cannot be ignored, and getting mental health assistance is just as important as addressing other health issues.
Men should never feel ashamed to seek help if they are feeling depressed or suicidal, as there are a wide array of resources available at all times. If you are not comfortable speaking to someone in person about this, there is a huge community online that is there to help if you choose. Listed below are some helpful online resources men can go to if they are having suicidal thoughts or feeling depressed and need to talk.
- http://mantherapy.org/ (Young Adults)
When thinking about your health, be aware of any changes in how you are feeling, because it is important to catch something and treat it early rather than wait. As men’s health is recognized this week, think about the choices you make every day and make your health a number one priority!
This blog was written for Healthy Young NV by Rachel, the Volunteer Coordinator at Immunize Nevada.