What’s the point? Preventive medicine. Take care of yourself before you become unhealthy. Or, if you’ve already started down the path to poor health, do what you can to reverse that process.
The organizers of the Men’s Health Month and Men’s Health Week have tagged it with the line, “Awareness. Prevention. Education. Family.” Every single one of those terms applies to you, men. Here’s why:
- Take the top 10 causes of death. Men die at higher rates from these causes than women. The top causes of death are heart disease, cancer, injuries, stroke, HIV/AIDS, and suicide. For every 162 women who die of heart disease, 249 men die of it. For every 2 or 3 women who commit suicide, about 10 men take their own lives. In keeping with that statistic, depression in men often goes undiagnosed.
- In 1920, men and women lived about the same life spans. Now, women outlive men by an average of six years.
- Men don’t go to doctors enough for well checks. Women are 100% more likely to go in for annual exams and preventive services than men.
How aware are you of what you need to do for preventive healthcare, not only for your own health but out of consideration for your family? Below is a short list to consider. For more information, find the complete list and other information at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
- Age 18 and onward: Regular screenings throughout adulthood for depression, blood pressure, and diabetes (if blood pressure is high). High blood pressure is a silent, serious, and chronic problem that can cause stroke, heart attack, and kidney and heart failure.
- Age 35 or older: Get screened for cholesterol levels. Do it even earlier, at age 20 and older, if you smoke or dip tobacco, are obese, have diabetes or high blood pressure, have a personal history of heart or arterial disease, or a family history of early heart attacks.
- Age 50: Get colorectal cancer screening. It’s so easy. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, your screening may need to be earlier than age 50. For example, I had my screening at age 38, partly because of symptoms. Because my doctor found and removed a large precancerous polyp, my first-degree relatives should all have their screening much earlier than age 50. My doctor told me that if I hadn’t had the colonoscopy done, I’d’ve been dead in five years. In other words, I wouldn’t have been alive to write this. Don’t be stupid. Get the screening.
- Age 65-75: If you’ve ever been a smoker, look into getting screened for abdominal aortic aneurysm. The aorta is the largest artery in your body, and an aneurysm is a bulge in this artery. If it bursts, bleeding and death are a frequent outcome.
Think you can’t afford to take care of yourself? Use this search tool to find affordable or even free preventive healthcare in your area. June may be Men’s Health Awareness month, but you should be practicing awareness and prevention and educating yourself every day of your life, not only for you but also for your family. They need you around, healthy and alive, as long as possible.
By: Emily Willingham