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Lincoln –Celebrated each year during June, Men's Health Month brings awareness to health issues that men face. Since 1992, this annual observance offers encouragement for men, boys, and their families to take control of their health.
Statistics show that men experience more illnesses than women, and on average die nearly five years earlier.
Studies show that women go to the doctor twice as much as men and men are overall more reluctant to go to the doctor according to menshealthmonth.org. In addition, 40% of men (when sick) delay seeking medical care for a few days and never go for routine checks. Prompt medical care can be the difference between life and death. Men tend to fear a diagnosis and 21% admit to avoiding a doctor because they fear finding out what may be wrong.
Keeping up with recommended shots is important, especially for elderly men. It's important to take medications as directed; keep a complete list of medications and dosages handy. Always inform any doctor about any medications that are taken; the more that is known, the better doctors can be aware of any potentially life-threatening drug interactions. Increased medications give a greater risk of side effects and adverse interactions.
Older men also have specific dietary needs; they need more calcium, vitamin D, fiber, and potassium. Additionally, it is recommended that senior men try to get 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week into their daily schedule, physical limitations permitting.
Up to 50% of Americans who live to age 65 will have at least one skin cancer, and Caucasian men are particularly at risk; it's never too late to take steps to prevent further damage from the sun. Additionally, prostate cancer affects one in nine men. According to the American Cancer Society, there are about 175,000 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed each year, and prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men. It's important for at-risk men to get screened for prostate cancer, as the earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it can be contained.
Mental health is another one of the most stigmatized issues affecting men. The American Psychological Association reports that 30.6% of men have suffered from depression in their lifetime. Men's hesitation to seek care is often worsened, as they are known for not talking about their feelings. In the eyes of many, discussing emotions is just another form of vulnerability that can lead to discomfort. It can be scary for some to share their feelings, but the payoff is worth it; men who express their feelings verbally are less likely to express them violently.
The average man should also make better lifestyle choices; statistics show that men drink more heavily and smoke more frequently than women. Drugs and alcohol can cause issues ranging from lung and heart disease to liver problems to preventable accidents.
The disparity in lifespan should be enough to recognize the need to encourage men to reach out to healthcare providers and get regular checkups, to talk about their day and the emotions that are felt, and to take better care of themselves.