June is Men’s Health Month. The goal of the month according to the Men’s Health Network is to “heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.”
According to the CDC, women live longer, healthier lives because they are more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men. The longer a man leaves his health issues untreated, the greater he is at risk for major, life-threatening problems.
Psychologists have studied how men have been taught from an early age to suppress pain and injury – but that is just not the way to live. Men are also more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as poor eating habits, smoking and excessive drinking.
Here are health problems that typically affect men:
Cardiovascular Disease –
According to the American Heart Association, one of three adult men has some form of cardiovascular disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, the cancers that affect men most are lung, skin, colon and prostate cancers.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, men die 3.53 times more often than women due to suicide. Depression in men is often left untreated and men are less likely to seek help for feelings of anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder.
To prevent these health issues:
- Go to the doctor for regular checkups, especially if you have a family history of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Talk to the doctor about how you are feeling mentally, not just physically.
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet – limit salt intake, do not eat too much food with high cholesterol levels.
- Exercise regularly – two to three times a week.
- Do NOT smoke.
- Limit alcohol use.
- Understand riskier vs. safer sexual behaviors.
When it comes to dads, scientific studies outline how men’s health influences aspects of their child’s health as well such as birth weight and brain development – in pre-conception, during pregnancy and post-conception. If a man is in poor physical health, this can impact a baby’s long-term risks of developing cardiovascular, metabolic, neurological and immune problems.