Calling All Men!

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June is National Men’s Health Month, and we hope this year all the men in your life will take stock of their health – because based on statistics, they really need to. On average, men die at 74.8 years old compared to women at 80.2 years old, according to the CDC’s National Center. One of the biggest factors contributing to this gap is men’s lackluster approach to preventive medicine. Translation: they are simply less likely to visit the doctor. To put it in context, 40 percent more women than men visited a physician in 2018, according to the CDC. 

So, what gives? According to experts, men avoid visiting the doctor for a variety of reasons, including embarrassment and viewing a visit to the doctor as a sign of “weakness,” which it most definitely is not.  Whatever men’s reasons are for neglecting their health, the consequences are deleterious; by not keeping up with routine health checks, their health is much more likely to decline.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among males in the United States today. However, when it comes to heart health, there are many lifestyle changes that can be altered to help avoid future cardiac problems. The most immediate solutions can be to quit smoking and enjoy a healthy diet and exercise regimen. After implementing those changes, men should also start practicing healthy routines such as monitoring their cholesterol and blood pressure, and keeping up with yearly doctor visits.

Cancer is the second leading cause of men’s death in the United States. According to the CDC, every year, nearly 300,000 men die from cancer in the country.  The top three biggest cancer risks for men are skin, prostate and colon cancer. Skin cancer is the most common cause of cancer, and overall, men have higher rates of developing melanoma, one of the more aggressive forms of skin cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer that causes death for men. Older men have a higher risk of prostate cancer than younger men, as well as African American men, and men with a family history of prostate cancer. The third leading type of cancer that puts men at risk is colon cancer. It is important for men to get regular screening tests for colon cancer starting at age forty.

Undergoing routine health checks can help men prevent diseases and possible death. For most men between the ages of forty to sixty-four, certain screenings should include:  blood pressure; cholesterol; colon cancer; blood glucose; prostate cancer; dental cleaning; vision tests; and updated immunizations. For men who are sixty-five and older, it is important to maintain  regular check-ups even if they continue to feel healthy. Men between the ages of sixty-five to seventy-five should continue to get the above screenings in addition to the following: Abdominal aortic aneurysm (for smokers or ex-smokers) and osteoporosis.

In addition, men should get a mental health check-up. Why is this so important? Because in almost every country, including the U.S., more men commit suicide than women. Even though it is reported that women have more mental health issues than men, suicide rates among men are almost four times higher than that of women. For this reason, it is important for men and their loved ones to pay attention to their mental health. And if you believe that you or someone you love suffers from depression, one of the leading diagnosed mental health ailments, then you should seek medical attention. Symptoms for depression may include a constant feeling of sadness or emptiness; anxiety; a feeling of hopelessness; experience tiredness or fatigue all the time; changes in eating habits; and lacking the drive to meet the duties of work, home, or other important responsibilities. For more information on men’s health, please visit www.cdc.gov, www.mayoclinic.com, http://www.nimh.nih.gov, or www.menshealthnetwork.org.

This information is for educational purposes. Please consult your physician regarding any medical issues. The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) is committed to bringing trusted and quality home health, private care and hospice to Indian River County patients. For more information about VNA services, call 772-567-5551 or visit www.vnatc.com.

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Health Awareness

Calling All Men!

June is National Men’s Health Month, and we hope this year all the men in your life will take stock of their health – because based on statistics, they really