Men's Health Month
Every June, people around the world celebrate Men's Health Month. It's an opportunity to spread the word about men's health and what it means to be healthy. Men are plagued with ailments that may afflict anyone—heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and depression, to name a few. They do, however, have gender-specific health issues, as well, such as prostate cancer and benign prostate enlargement.
In celebration of men’s Health Month, consider things men should do right now to improve their health.
The adage about an ounce of prevention certainly is true when it comes to healthcare. Detecting symptoms of certain health conditions early, when they are more easily treatable, is critical in helping men stay healthy. Having all of your doctor-recommended healthcare checks done on schedule is a to-do list that no man should disregard.
When talking about men’s health, certainly prostate screening is one of the first tests to come to mind. According to the National Cancer Institute, more than three million men in the U.S. live with prostate cancer, and many don’t know they have it.
Prostate cancer screening is done in two steps:
- Digital rectal examination (DRE) — The doctor puts a finger into the rectum to feel for lumps or enlargement of the prostate gland.
- PSA test — The PSA test examines the blood level of a particular protein generated by the prostate gland, which can be high in men with prostate cancer.
Both tests are critical to the early detection of prostate cancer. As with many forms of cancer, the earlier you detect it, the better your chances of survival.
Diabetes screening is essential for men with high blood pressure. Anyone who feels thirsty, goes to the bathroom more than usual, has sudden weight loss, increased appetite, or tingling in their hands or feet should consult their doctor about getting tested. A1C is a test that assesses your average blood sugar over the last three months and is the best screening for diabetes.
By 50, all males should be checked for colorectal (colon or rectal) cancer. Men with a family history of colorectal cancer should obtain a colonoscopy as soon as possible. Various tests can aid in detecting colon cancer, but colonoscopy remains the gold standard.
The key to optimizing your health is living right, for both men and women, which means eating a balanced diet low in unhealthy fats and sugar and getting plenty of exercises. This is something many people realize by now. There are other things to consider when mapping out your healthy lifestyle, too.
Studies indicate that men struggle to handle stress more than women. Men avoid addressing their feelings and, as a result, are less likely to talk about them. Stress can increase your blood pressure and body weight, so it is critical to devote time to activities to reduce stress. Little things like meditation and regular exercise are all some men need to control the stress in their lives.
Reduce Risky Behaviors
Part of living healthy is also learning to control behaviors that threaten your life, such as alcohol consumption and smoking. Smoking causes a wide range of malignancies and is one of the most modifiable risk factors. However, excessive alcohol use has immediate consequences that raise the likelihood of various serious health issues, including liver and heart disease.
Celebrate men this June by being more aware of the things that improve their health.