June is National Men’s Health month, a great opportunity to encourage all the fellas in your life to take stock of their health and find areas where they can improve their physical and mental well-being. Because the truth is, that when it comes to men's longevity, there’s a lot to be concerned about. For starters, women live longer than men — on average about six to eight years more than men. Among the top ten causes of death, men die at higher rates than women for all of them.
To be fair, guys are not genetically inferior — there’s something more going on. The main problem appears to be men’s tendency to take care of their cars or smartphones better than their health. For example, men are more likely to put off going to a medical practitioner than women. To be exact, women are 33% more likely to go to the doctor than men according to the CDC. This has long term ramifications that can cause a steady deterioration of men’s well-being.
It’s clear that many men need to start putting their health higher up on their priority list. Caring for yourself starts with small daily changes like incorporating nutrient-rich foods into your diet, moving your body on a regular basis, and getting a yearly checkup. And while men need to be more invested in their wellness, the vast majority of women have men in their lives that they care deeply about who they want to stay fit for the long haul. The following list of top men’s health threats and how to prevent them is here to help you or someone you know beat the statistics.
The biggest hazard for men’s health is cardiovascular disease. It’s the leading cause of death for both sexes in the U.S. and the world, but men are almost twice as likely to die from heart disease than women. One quarter of men have some form of heart condition, according to the CDC, with coronary artery disease (CAD) topping the list. CAD develops when arteries become narrowed and hardened from plaque buildup which reduces blood flow and can gradually lead to a heart attack or stroke.
The top risk factors for cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association, are: male sex, increasing age, family history of the disease, smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes. In addition, certain groups have higher risks like African Americans, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and South Asians.
What can you do to prevent cardiovascular disease?
- Keep tabs on your blood pressure and cholesterol by getting them checked at least once a year. Talk to your doctor about what to do if either are too high.
- Don’t smoke, and if you do, find a way to quit by talking with your health care provider.
- Exercise on a regular basis. Try for 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
- Eat nutrient-dense heart healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed foods and foods high in saturated fats, sodium, and added sugars.
- Manage diabetes. Having diabetes doubles your risk of heart disease. If you have diabetes, be sure to keep your blood sugar levels under control.
- Drink alcohol in moderation. Excessive alcohol consumption can raise blood pressure levels and is high in calories, which may cause weight gain.
- Manage stress. Elevated stress levels can raise blood pressure. There are many ways to naturally reduce stress, such as exercise, meditation, and listening to peaceful music.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation raises your risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes which in turn raises your risk for heart disease. If you have trouble sleeping you can try these tips for getting a good night’s sleep.
- Support and nourish your cardiovascular system with Heart Protector®, an antioxidant powerhouse made with 11 concentrated, organic herbal extracts & enzymes.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death among American men with lung and prostate cancers hitting them the hardest.
Lung cancer kills more men (and women) than any other type of cancer, and tobacco smoke causes 90% of all lung cancers. It’s a sneaky and aggressive disease that spreads early and fast. About a quarter of people with advanced lung cancer do not have symptoms when it’s found, and by then, it’s often difficult to cure. Less than half of men are alive a year after they find out they have lung cancer. Ready to quit smoking yet?
Quitting immediately reduces the risk for lung cancer, but it can be a challenging task. If you or your loved one needs help beating the habit, talk to your doctor. Another option is to call 800-QUIT-NOW and talk to one of the counselors who are trained specifically to help smokers quit.
While lung cancer is the top cancer killer of men, prostate cancer is number two on the list and is the most common cancer found in men. The disease is treatable if found early — that’s where an annual check-up comes in. The American Cancer Society recommends a yearly prostate-specific antigen blood test and rectal exam for men 50 or older.
Unintentional injuries, like a fall, car accident, or poisoning, are a leading cause of death for men each year. Male workers incurred over 90% of the total reported fatal occupational injuries. Deaths from falls are nearly 50% higher for men than women. Plus, male drivers are almost twice as likely as female drivers to be intoxicated when involved in a fatal motor vehicle crash. Most accidental deaths involve older folks with the highest death rate from unintentional injuries among those aged 75 years and older.
Some things you can do to prevent fatal accidents are:
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
- Exercise regularly to improve balance and strength.
- Have your eyes checked once a year to make sure your prescription glasses are up to date. You can also take Eye Protector® to nourish and support your healthy vision.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medications to reduce side effects and interactions.
Type 2 diabetes is considered an epidemic in the US, affecting more than one in ten men. Some of the symptoms include: increased thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, fatigue, blurry vision, and unusual weight loss. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes often goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms seem harmless. But if left untreated it can dramatically increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.
There are many ways to reduce your risk for contracting type 2 diabetes including:
- Eat healthy foods rich in nutrients and complex carbohydrates, and low in fat and calories. You guessed it — fruits, veggies, and whole grains top the list! If you can’t get all of the nutrients you need from diet alone, a high-quality supplement is a great way to ensure all your bases are covered. Vita•Min•Herb for Men provides complete core nutrients and targeted herbal support for men of all ages.
- Get active each day for at least 30 minutes. You don’t need a gym membership — a simple walk around the neighborhood or a bike ride will do.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, try to gradually incorporate healthy lifestyle changes over time versus yo-yo dieting. Consistency is key!
- Avoid processed foods that are usually high in salt, fat, and calories. Replace them with whole, raw foods whenever possible.
- Limit alcohol consumption since it can lead to weight gain and increase blood pressure.
- Get regular checkups with your healthcare provider and make sure to keep tabs on your blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol levels.
Suicide & Depression
Men are nearly four times more likely to commit suicide compared to women, and they account for over 70 percent of all US suicides. The most important risk factor for suicide is depression, and since men are more reluctant to seek professional help, their depression often goes undiagnosed. Worse yet, many men attempt to “self-medicate” to relieve their distress, and substance or alcohol abuse can deepen depression and increase impulsive behaviors. Indeed, alcoholism is a known risk factor for suicide.
Men are societally conditioned to be “strong” and not communicate their emotion or distress. So, one of the best ways to help your male loved-one with depression is by encouraging him to talk about how he’s feeling. If he finds it too difficult to unburden himself to you, then you can find him a close friend, relative, a counselor, or even a helpline to give him a safe space to talk. If you think you are depressed, know that it takes incredible strength to ask for help, and that there are a lot of resources out there that can help you. Don’t expect to overcome depression by yourself. It’s a disease, not something that you will just “get over.”
While these men’s diseases don’t just apply to the male sex, it’s important to consider that these diseases and issues do present a higher risk to men than women. Now that you know the top men’s health issues, why not take a look at your own well-being and see if there are any habits that need changing or lifestyle choices that you can upgrade? Building a strong health foundation takes dedication, attention, and consistency, but the rewards are well worth it and might very well add years to your life.
Examining your health can be uncomfortable or downright scary. But if you’re concerned that you or your loved-one may have a health condition, addressing it now is essential to overcoming it, healing, and staying healthy for the long run.