Celebrating Men’s Health Month

June is Men’s Health Month! The theme this year is “Stronger Together, Better Forever: Building Better Health for Men & Boys, Lifelong. ”This annual observance encourages men and boys to be proactive in their health by implementing healthy living decisions. This #MensHealthMonth,remind the men in your life to keep themselves in good health by making all their appointments with healthcare providers! Encourage your loved ones to take care of themselves both physically & mentally.

Men’s Health Facts

There is a crisis in men’s health. Because of poor health habits, lack of health insurance, failure to seek medical attention, and dangerous occupations, men live sicker and die younger than women. On average, men in the United States die 6 years earlier than women and are at higher risk for many serious diseases including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, suicide, accidents, and diseases of the kidney and liver. In addition, men experience unique health problems that do not affect women, like prostate cancer. Other factors like economic stability and educational access and quality can increase a man’s risk for poor health outcomes. As a result, all of us need to better understand how the unique environments, cultures, histories, and circumstances of racial and ethnic minorities impact their overall health. 

Men’s health is not just a ‘man’s issue,’ it is a family issue. Men’s health can impact everyone around them: wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters, etc.

So, the question is, what can men do to be healthier?

The answer?  Simple: Take action!

  • Eat healthy – add more fruits and vegetables to your diet and try to limit eating foods that are high in calories, sugar, salt, and fat.
  • Get moving –make a personal goal to reach 2 ½ hours of physical activity per week. Participating in activities you enjoy will help you to stay motivated.
  • Quit tobacco- tobacco smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in the U.S. and the primary cause of COPD and lung cancer.
  • Make prevention a priority – schedule yearly checkups and regular health screenings with your doctor or local health department.
    • Monthly testicular self-exams are important for the early detection of testicular cancer.
    • June 27th is National HIV Testing Day and everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should get tested for HIV at least once as part of their routine health care. Those who are at a higher risk for HIV should be tested more often. For free HIV testing, contact your local Health Department.
  • Set an example – consistently pull the above healthy habits together and be a role model for those who may be watching you.

Physical Aspect of Men’s Health

Studies show that men are less likely than women to seek medical care and are more likely to choose unhealthy behaviors.  This month is a good opportunity to talk to your loved ones about healthy habits that can lower their risk for health problems.

  1. Get an annual preventive care check-up. Even if you feel fine, a regular check-up can help catch small health problems before they become big ones. Your doctor can recommend any screenings or tests you may need, like colorectal cancer screenings or blood sugar testing.
  2. Eat a heart-healthy diet. As the saying goes, ”We are what we eat!”.  Make a commitment to learn about nutrition and focus on a healthy diet. This includes plenty of whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. Try making half your plate fruits and veggies.
  1. Aim to exercise for 30 minutes per day. Movement is great for many things like digestion and joint pain but most especially your brain!!  Take advantage of the nicer weather and get outside for a walk or participate in your favorite sport! 
  2. Kick your nicotine habit if you have one. Whether it is living longer or feeling (and looking) younger, find your motivation to quit.
  3. Take care of your mental health. Life can be stressful and demanding. If you are struggling to cope, talking with a mental health professional can help. 

Men’s Mental Health-The Mind/Body Connection

Mental health is an important determinant of overall health and quality of life at every age. Although men are more likely to suffer “deaths of despair,” including alcoholism, overdose, and suicide, they are far less likely than women to seek out mental health services. Undiagnosed and untreated mood disorders in young men are associated with impaired learning, risk-taking behaviors, the use of substances, and violence. Adult men with chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease have worse outcomes when they also suffer from depression, and depression is associated with decreased longevity in older men.

Men should be aware of the symptoms of depression and anxiety and know when it is time to seek help. Opening up about mental health and normalizing a discussion around depression, anxiety, and suicide risk is something that men can do for themselves and for each other.

The Importance of Social Connection

Social connection is essential to our health and well-being and yet, an increasing number of Americans report loneliness and social isolation. Research shows that people who experience loneliness and isolation are at increased risk of heart disease, dementia, stroke, depression, and anxiety. Lacking social connection can even increase the risk of premature death to levels comparable to smoking. On the other hand, maintaining social connections promotes better physical and mental health, eases stress and even can lead to a healthier immune system. Taking simple steps like answering a phone call from a friend, inviting someone to share a meal, or volunteering in your community can help you to feel connected.

When discussing treatment options with your healthcare provider, ask about participating in clinical trials. alsa Research has two dedicated research facilities in Stamford and Bridgeport, CT. Since 1994, we have been committed to conducting the highest-quality clinical trials to develop, research, and approve new, safe, and effective medications for various medical conditions and diseases. Your participation matters. For more information and to pre-qualify as a participant in a future trial, visit alsaresearch.com.