June Is Men’s Health Month
As summer kicks off, so, too, does Men’s Health Month, a four-week span that seeks to raise awareness about health problems affecting men, young men and boys. Right now, the lifespan among males is about six years shorter than it is for females, raising questions about what men and boys might do to prevent common health issues, encourage early detection of serious conditions, and otherwise combat health crises disproportionately affecting males.
Health Issues That Disproportionately Affect Men
Why is it that men have shorter lifespans than women, and why do men have higher mortality rates for the top causes of death across the United States? There are several factors likely contributing to the disparity.
Failure to have annual physicals
Research shows that males are far less likely than females to have their doctors perform annual exams or physicals. These exams have the potential to catch numerous health issues, giving patients a chance to undergo treatment or make appropriate lifestyle changes to improve their conditions. Neglecting to have annual physicals increases the likelihood of a serious condition going unnoticed, which may have a substantial impact on a patient’s prognosis.
A lack of health insurance
Studies show that males are also less likely to have health insurance than females. This makes them less likely to seek treatment or undergo health screenings when they suspect something might be amiss.
A higher propensity for certain health issues
Men also tend to suffer more illnesses and serious medical conditions than their female peers. For example, men are more than three times as likely as women to develop kidney stones. They are also twice as likely as women to develop emphysema or a duodenal ulcer, and they are almost 10 times as likely as women to develop inguinal hernias.
Many of the health issues that disproportionately affect men are preventable. By securing health insurance and undergoing regular health screenings, men and boys can reduce their risk of developing serious health issues and help prolong and improve their quality of life in the process.
Cardiovascular Issues Common Among Men
Heart disease is one of the biggest health issues faced by American men. Heart disease is now responsible for about one in every four deaths among American males, and it is also the leading cause of death among males in nearly all racial and ethnic groups. Also concerning is the fact that half of the men who succumb to heart disease had no prior symptoms alerting them to their conditions.
Men are at an even higher risk for heart disease if they have one or more of the following risk factors:
- High body mass index
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Sedentary lifestyle
So, how might men and boys cut their risk of heart disease? Eating healthy, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake and lowering stress levels are all methods men might use to reduce their risk of heart disease. Undergoing regular physicals and having periodic tests for diabetes also helps patients understand their risks, mitigate their risk factors and identify any serious health issues early enough to give patients their best chance at recovery.