Keeping Men Healthy: Men’s Health Month
June 5, 2018
June is Men’s Health Month. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the 10 leading causes of death among American men, making up 74% of all deaths, are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, accidents, cerebrovascular disease (stroke), Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease (including infection), and suicide. This list is misleading though because deaths from pneumonia and the flu are actually deaths from sepsis. Cancer, diabetes, and kidney disease weaken the immune system, which raises the risk of infection and sepsis. Other causes, like heart disease, stroke, and accidents, can also increase your risk of developing infection.
More concerning statistics include that 12.4% of men are considered to be in fair or poor health, 17.8% smoke, 34.5% are obese, and 32.6% have hypertension.
So, what can we do to help improve men’s health? Some steps may be obvious, but the message isn’t always getting through. The most important step is prevention.
Even though there are debates as to frequency, women have long understood the need for preventative check-ups, such as mammograms and Pap smears, in addition to overall health examinations. Men have their specific needs too, yet according to an article published by Harvard Medical School, 55% of men questioned for a survey had not had a physical examination in the year before, despite 40% of them having a chronic illness already. In addition, almost one-third of the men said even when they are ill, they only get medical help when they can’t handle it any longer.
Harvard’s guide suggests that men over the age of 50 be screened annually for weight, lung cancer (for smokers), and blood pressure if they are at risk for heart disease. Depending on each individual’s medical background, history, and doctor recommendations, other tests that should be done every few years or at least once include colorectal cancer screening, diabetes screening, and testing for hepatitis B and C, prostate cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, and abdominal aortic aneurysms.
Health prevention doesn’t stop at testing. It also includes ensuring vaccinations are up to date and that all wounds are cared for properly to reduce the risk of infection. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with exercise, good nutrition, stress management, and getting enough sleep can also help keep the body as healthy as possible.
If illness does occur, it shouldn’t be ignored. Many conditions can be treated or managed effectively, particularly if caught in the early stages. This may prevent serious complications, like sepsis.
Men’s health is important and should be taken seriously all year round. Learn more about different health issues and how they may be related to sepsis in the Sepsis and… library.