From the Director's Desk: Men's Health Month - Prevention Is Key
Men’s Health Month is celebrated every year to help increase awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases among men and boys.
Unfortunately, in the U.S., men tend to live sicker and die younger than women. Men outpace women in nine of the top ten causes of death, as well as in rates of heart disease, cancer, injuries, stroke, suicide and HIV/AIDS.
In addition, according to the CDC, U.S. men are experiencing significantly increased death rates due to COVID-19 in comparison to women.
Why is that?
The exact answer is still unclear; however, researchers do believe behavioral differences like smoking play a part. In the U.S., 15.6% of men are smokers compared to 12% of women.
Like other healthy habits such as eating a balanced diet and exercising, quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits. Quitting smoking lowers men’s risk of diabetes, allows blood vessels to work better and helps the heart and lungs. Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than that of non-smokers. Quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%.
Another factor that increases men’s risk of death and disease is the avoidance of the doctor’s office for annual examinations and preventive screenings and services. It’s important to encourage the men in your life to get regular checkups and age appropriate screenings so that they can become aware of their health status, know how to improve their health, and increase their lifespan.
Healthy habits that men should adopt to reduce their risk of disease include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, saying no to smoking and learning how to reduce stress.
Eating a healthy diet daily that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables may help protect men from chronic diseases. It’s also important that men limit their intake of foods and drinks that are high in calories, sugar, salt, fat and alcohol.
Regular physical activity can help men control their weight, reduce their risk of heart disease and some cancers, and improve their mental health and moods. Men should have at least 2 ½ hours of physical activity each week.
Finally, it’s important for men to recognize and reduce their levels of stress, which can be recognized through physical and emotional tension. Ways that men can reduce stress include finding support, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
Thanks for stopping by the Director’s Corner, where your health is our priority!