June is Men’s Health Month and each year we wear blue to support and bring awareness to the health and wellbeing of men and boys. This year Wear Blue Day is June 18th.
Wear BLUE was created by Men’s Health Network to raise awareness about the importance of male health and to encourage men to live longer and healthier lives.
The Wall Street Journal reports, “Compared with women, men avoid going to the doctor, skip more recommended screenings and practice riskier behavior.”
A recent study by the Cleveland Clinic found:
Only 3 in 5 men go to the doctor every year
40 percent of men only go to the doctor when they think they have a serious medical condition
Over half of men said they don’t talk about their health with loved ones.
So, why is it important for you to go to the doctor?
A visit to the doctor can save your life. Here are just a few health conditions that can be prevented or eased by early recognition and intervention.
Cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer of men in the United States across most racial and ethnic groups.
The early symptoms of heart disease often go undetected.
At regular checkups, doctors monitor for and treat health conditions that increase a man’s risk for heart disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States with 90 percent of lung cancer cases resulting from smoking. Talk to your doctor about how to quit!
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men with 1 out of every 9 men developing prostate cancer in their lifetime. Discuss the need for a prostate screening with your doctor.
Diabetes increases your risk for heart disease, strokes, blindness, kidney failure, and amputations.
Proper nutrition, physical activity and early treatment can reduce your risk.
"Regardless of who you are or what you do for a living, [depression] doesn’t discriminate … The key thing I found is … especially [for] us as guys….you gotta talk about it, you’re not alone." - Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Men face many challenges during their lifetimes which can cause anxiety and depression. Some of these include physical health problems, relationship problems, employment problems, social isolation, the birth of a baby and drug and alcohol use. A mental health therapist is trained to help you through these difficult challenges.
Not ready to meet with a counselor? Here are ideas you can do at home:
Get connected to a social network on-line or in person.
Get up and move and, even better, take it outside.
Focus on the present and avoid feeding any anxiety you may have about the future.
Take up a hobby that includes social interaction.
Where to Start
The Office of Minority Health created the Five Plays for Men to Stay at the Top of their Game. This is a great place for all men regardless of race, to start.
Make healthy food choices by adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Exercise at least 30 minutes every day.
Schedule any needed doctor’s appointments and be honest with your health care providers.
Talk to a mental health professional about the things that are on your mind.
Even if you decide not to make any changes in your life, take this month as an opportunity to get educated about your health. Research the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find information on men’s health issues. Talk to your doctor about your own personal health risks and how to prevent the biggest dangers, such as heart disease.
Set your own health goals. Make sure to start out small and set goals that are easy to achieve. Join a gym, schedule a doctor’s appointment, enjoy an outdoor sport or spend more time with family and friends. This is your month!