Every June we celebrate Men’s Health Month to help heighten awareness of preventable health problems and encourage men to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for diseases and injuries.
Why is this something we think is important? Men statistically have more health problems and die younger than women. Check out some of these statistics:
• Men die at higher rates than women from the top 10 causes of death and are the victims of over 92 percent of workplace deaths. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
• One in two men are diagnosed with cancer as compared to one in three women.
• In the U.S., nearly 30,000 men die from prostate cancer every year.
• The No. 1 threat to men is heart disease, which is caused by higher blood pressure, cholesterol and rates of obesity.
• Men are found to be 20 times more likely to be colorblind than their female counterparts.
• Men are twice as likely as women to be affected by hearing loss.
• Men die on average five years earlier than women.
Why are men less healthy than woman? While it is a fact that most men delay having regular checkups and are more likely to put off seeking medical advice and treatment, that is not the whole story.
Society has historically put less emphasize on healthy behavior of men and boys. While women tend to live longer than men, research funding specific to women's health issues tops men's. Additional factors that put men at higher risk of health issues:
• More men lack health care coverage compared with women.
• More men are employed in the most dangerous occupations, such as mining, firefighting, construction and fishing.
• Men may have less healthy, riskier lifestyles, particularly at younger ages.
If we want to improve the health of our nation as a whole, education on men’s health issues is a step in the right direction. So, let’s look at the most common issues. They vary according to age, but from 18 years on, men should keep an eye on:
PSA – (prostate-specific antigen) is a substance produced by the prostate cells. High levels of PSA may be a sign of prostate cancer or a noncancerous condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia. If your PSA levels are elevated, your doctor will do other tests to find out what is causing the elevated PSA levels.
High Blood Sugar – Having high blood sugar levels means you have too much of a certain sugar in your blood, which may indicate diabetes. Your body uses blood sugar, or glucose, for energy. But when glucose levels are too high, health problems may occur.
Blood Pressure – Temporary elevations in blood pressure caused by fright or exercise are normal and do not harm the body. But sustained high blood pressure can have a long-term effect on important body organs. Over time, high blood pressure (hypertension) can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and other health problems. It is important to detect and treat hypertension early.
Cholesterol – Elevated levels are one of the main causes of coronary heart disease, so it is important to have your cholesterol checked at regular intervals. How often you should have your cholesterol levels checked depends on your specific risk factors for heart disease, so ask your doctor what your risk factors are and how often you should be tested.
Clearly, the best decision a man can make is to care for himself. Despite cultural imagery that would have men believe they are indestructible, the fact is they aren’t. Healthy behaviors, such as diet and exercise, along with recommended physician visits and tests centered on your age and lifestyle will help improve your health.
If you are in search of a physician Blue Springs Internal Medicine, an affiliate of St. Mary’s Medical Center, is accepting new patients and can be contacted at 816-228-9841.
– St. Mary’s Medical Center is staffed 24 hours a day with emergency medical professionals. The Emergency Department can be reached at 816-655-5450.