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June is Mens Health Month. Here’s What We Can Do

man having a health consultation with his doctor

Men’s Health Month and Condition Prevention

By Amanda Springstroh, RN, quality care coordinator at Network Health
Originally published on 6/21/2021 at 2:00 p.m.

Throughout June, Men’s health month focuses on improving the health and wellness of men. Whether for you, a friend, co-worker, brother, dad, or spouse, this month is dedicated to taking care of men’s bodies.

When is wear blue for Men’s Health Day in 2021?

Though the entire month is dedicated to men’s health, June 18 is recognized as Wear Blue Day bringing attention to the unique challenges and risks associated with men’s health. The day was created to raise awareness of preventable health problems and to encourage early detection and treatment of diseases that commonly affect men.

Are men or women healthier?

By wearing blue, you’re lending your wardrobe and your presence to the awareness of men’s health issues. This is important for several reasons. Among them, men are less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than women.

Many theories exist with the majority of them relating to social factors that discourage men from taking care of themselves.  They are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors and less likely to adopt healthy measures for prevention.

Statistically, men typically have less than half as many preventative visits to their personal doctors, are more likely to develop cancer and, as a result, men die about five years earlier than women on average.

Traditionally, men typically only go to the doctor if they have serious health issues and admit that they feel nervous about finding out what might be wrong. Men’s health awareness can mean many different things but includes emphasizing the importance of regular doctor visits. Encouraging conversation and being an advocate for yourself and others are two important steps to raising awareness for men’s health in June and throughout the entire year.

How can men take charge of their health?

There are several ways for men to take charge of their health. Here are some important steps.

Get a routine health exam every year

With men being half as likely as women to schedule and get preventative exams, getting an annual checkup is crucial for optimum health. As people age, screenings to help detect health issues that may arise. For men and those assigned male at birth, these can include health conditions that make up leading causes of death.

Document your family history and learn your risk factors. Men have a higher rate of death with leading causes including heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Also in that leading causes list is “accidental death,” which may come about if balance or strength issues aren’t addressed at a preventative screening.

Finally, these visits are also a great time to review medications and immunizations. Remember that, whatever your age, no health questions are insignificant, and you should feel comfortable talking with your doctor about any concerns. Regular doctor visits, early detection and treatment are key to living a longer, healthy life.

Evaluate and change lifestyle choices

It’s no secret that many chronic conditions and even potentially fatal ones can be prevented with reassessed and improved lifestyle choices.

Eat healthier

One of the best ways to have an immediate impact on your risk factor is to eat healthy and get active.

In general, men tend to make less healthy dietary choices. They often prefer meat and dairy while eating far less fruit and vegetables. Eating a well-balanced diet and incorporating a variety of foods has significant health benefits that go beyond simply feeling more energetic or getting and staying in shape.

Get active

Being active is as equally important as eating right. Experts recommend incorporating 30 minutes of physical activity into a daily schedule at least five days a week. Eating healthy and being physically active will help you not only feel great but help combat those health conditions and diseases.

Stop smoking and reduce alcohol consumption

Men drink and smoke more frequently and in greater quantities than women.

If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation and don’t drive. Men are also more likely to have alcohol-related injuries and accidents compared to women.

If you or someone you know smokes,  get help and make every effort to quit. Use of tobacco in any format is proven to cause long-term health issues such as lung and heart disease. Quitting has several health benefits that begin immediately once the habit has been eliminated.

Limit sun exposure

By age 50, men are about two times more likely than women to develop skin cancer. A significant reason for this discrepancy is that men are less likely to use sun protection. It is never too late to use sun protection and take the steps to prevent further damage.

A few easy sun safety tips include trying to avoid direct sun during the peak hours of 10 am - 4 pm. When in the sun, wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, hats and sunglasses. Any exposed skin should have SPF 30 or greater sun block applied liberally. Also conduct monthly self-skin exams where you check your skin for new moles, freckles or sun damage. Healthy skin and safe sun habits should be incorporated into your everyday routine.

Men’s health begins with awareness

Men’s health is important and deserves attention during the month of June. These are just a few ways to raise awareness, engage in the conversations and commit to better health. Be an advocate for yourself, the ones you know and love and take some time to celebrate Men’s Health during the month of June and for the remainder of the year and the years ahead.

For more information about how your Wisconsin-based health plan can assist with preventative care, contact Network Health today.

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