Women’s health might get all the attention but let’s not forget about men’s health. After all, men make up half the world’s population and have their own health issues to worry about too. The top causes of death for men are heart disease, cancer, and accidents. This shows that men are just as likely to suffer from some of the same issues that women have. The biggest difference though, is that men are more reluctant to go see a doctor. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) estimates that men are 24% less likely to have seen a doctor in the past year as compared to women. So in honor of Men’s Health Month, let’s take a minute to talk about some common health problems in the context of men.
Would it surprise you that more men die from heart disease than women every year? While women’s health campaigns have done a great job at spreading awareness about heart disease rate and susceptibility amongst women, the men have been kept in the dark.
Men are more likely to develop heart disease earlier and die at an earlier age. Recent data shows that close to 90% of all sudden cardiac deaths occur in men.
The best ways to prevent heart disease? Be active, reduce the amount of sodium and fat in your food, and mind your ABCS:
A: Aspirin (ask your doctor before doing this)
B: Blood pressure
In the US, the most common kinds of cancer among men are skin cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer.
Lung cancer causes the most deaths in men out of all other types of cancer so DO NOT smoke and avoid any secondhand smoke. Even e-cigarettes have recently been shown to have health risks.
Prostate cancer and colorectal cancer are both common among men but regular screening tests can help detect the disease early. The best way for anyone to avoid skin cancer is by protecting your skin from the sun. The Center for Disease Control also recommends all men to get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to protect against genital warts and anal cancer (women are recommended to get the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer).
Mental health issues among men are so common and such a problem that it’s being called the silent crisis. An estimated 6 million men suffer from depression, and suicide is the 7th leading cause of death for men in the US. Even though women report depression at a higher rate and attempt more suicides each year, men are four times more likely to die from a suicide. Why? Men simply aren’t as likely to seek out medical help or peer to peer health support.
Depression isn’t the only mental health issue though, other disorders include anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and even eating disorders. That’s right, eating disorders aren’t just something that affects women – men can be affected, too. This usually stems from dissatisfaction with their body and can lead to the following warning signs of an eating disorder:
- Preoccupation with body building or weight lifting
- Lowered testosterone levels
- Muscular weakness
- Steroid use
- Decreased interest in sex, or fears about sex
- Anxiety/stress from missing workouts
The most important step in dealing with any sort of mental health problem is to talk to someone – whether it’s a doctor, a friend, or through a peer to peer health support forum (like HHP). Additional information and support can be found at mentalhealth.gov and through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
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