We are officially into our second week of Movember! For those dudes out there who are letting it grow I hope your home is still peaceful and your soup strainer is looking fabulous! Please consider making a donation to benefit men’s health around the world! You can donate here: www.mobro.co/andrewcsloss
If you are a frequent reader of this blog then you are aware we are focusing most of our efforts this month on men’s health and related issues. Today is no different as we tackle some of the more common health issues that men face.
Before we start, let me just take a moment and remind you how important it is to be doing a yearly check up with your doctor. If you have health insurance (even if it is Obama-scare) your yearly routine physical is almost always covered 100% by your insurance. In other words, you have no excuse not to stay as healthy as possible. Even if you are a young man in his twenties you should be going to the doc’s office because as we have already seen testicular cancer can arrive as early as 18 years of age. You are NOT invincible not matter what you think or how great you feel. Get a check up this week if you haven’t had one in the last year.
#1 – Heart Health and Heart Related Issues
No surprise this is number #1 on the list. Men have a terrible track record of taking care of their ticker. It all starts with heart disease which not only comes in many different forms but will have fatal implications if not detected by your doctor. How might it not get detected? By you not going to the doctor! Do you see a pattern yet?
The American Heart Association indicates that more than one in three adult men has some form of cardiovascular disease. Black men account for 100,000 more cardiovascular disease mortality cases than white men. Furthermore, stroke targets an estimated 2.8 million men and high blood pressure is common in younger males.
#2 – COPD & Other Respiratory Diseases
No doubt you have probably seen the terrible ads they run on television about COPD. You may not have been paying attention to the ads though because they are very similar to Viagra ads, etc,. Despite those ads being horrible and likely doing more harm than good, COPD is a health problem that you need to take seriously. This is especially true if you are a smoker or former smoker.
COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and it is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. This disease kills more than 120,000 Americans annually—the equivalent of one death every four minutes, and the numbers are increasing.
As of 2011, 12 million people in the United States were diagnosed with COPD. It may be as much as 16 million currently. Another 12 million people may have the disease without knowing it.
Various respiratory diseases usually start with an innocent “smoker’s cough.” Over time, that cough can lead to life-threatening conditions such as lung cancer, emphysema, or COPD—all of which interfere with normal breathing.
# 3 – Alcohol Related Health Problems
Okay gents, put down that Rusty Nail for a second and pay attention! There is nothing wrong with throwing back a drink (or several) but too often we have a serious problem with binge drinking! You might think your liver can handle it when you are in college but don’t forget that is the same liver you are going to need when you are 85. We certainly condone you having a good time but take it easy on the brewskis and cocktails so you can be around to play with your grand-kids.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men face higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations than women do. Men binge drink twice as much and are prone to increased aggression and sexual assault against women.
Alcohol consumption increases risk for cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon. Alcohol also interferes with testicular function and hormone production, resulting in impotence and infertility. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, if a problem drinker does not seek help, he is more likely to commit suicide.
#4 Depression and Suicide
We also discussed how frequently men struggle with depression last week, so it is no surprise to see this on our list today.
Researchers at The National Institute of Mental Health estimate that at least six million men suffer from depressive disorders including suicidal thoughts annually. If you’re depressed, the NIMH recommends these tips:
- set realistic goals
- surround yourself with loved ones
- postpone important decisions
- seek professional help
#5 Unintentional Injuries or Being Stupid
There is a reason why The Darwin Awards exist and sadly it is not surprising to find that many of these award recipients are male. There is no shortage to the stupid things we men do for money, to look cool, while drinking and of course, for sex.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed unintentional injury as a leading cause of death for men in 2006. This includes drowning, traumatic brain injuries, and fireworks-related mishaps.
Motor vehicle death rates for male drivers and passengers ages 15 to 19 were almost twice that of females in 2006. And male workers incurred 92 percent of the 5,524 total reported fatal occupational injuries. Remember: you are not Superman. Be careful.
#6 Liver Disease
Your liver is the size of a football. Its functions include digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and ridding the body of toxic substances. Liver disease includes conditions such as cirrhosis, viral hepatitis, autoimmune or genetic liver diseases, bile duct or liver cancer, and even alcoholic liver disease.
According to a study posted by the American Cancer Society, alcohol and tobacco use increase your chance of developing liver disease.
Our good friend and favorite nurse, Clarice Dale, wrote a blog for us awhile back on the subject. Now might be a good time to re-read it to get a more in depth view of this disease.
We have made great strides as men in the last 20 years in better understanding diabetes and becoming more aware of our own blood sugar health. However, this disease is still a serious problem for men, especially in the United States.
If you have diabetes you run a greater risk of sexual impotence, lower testosterone, which can make it much more difficult for you to procreate (if that is something you eventually want to do one day.) All of these things tend to also lead to depression and anxiety. If left untreated you may suffer from nerve and kidney damage, heart disease, stroke and of course death.
Best course of action is to eat clean and get some exercise.
#8 The Flu and Related Illnesses
Influenza and pneumococcal infection are two leading health risks for some men. Men who have compromised immune systems due to COPD, diabetes, congestive heart failure, sickle cell anemia, AIDS, or cancer, are more susceptible to these illnesses.
The American Lung Association urges older males—especially African American men and men over the age of 65—to get vaccinated. Studies show that vaccinations can be up to 70 percent effective in preventing hospitalizations for both influenza and pneumococcal infection in those over 65.
Don’t be a baby, get your shots!
#9 Skin Cancer
One of my favorite episodes of Seinfeld was when Jerry was dating a doctor. This doctor happened to be a dermatologist and when Jerry and her would go out on dates, people would come up to her and thank her for “saving their life.” Jerry thought it was rather arrogant that she would claim to save lives as a dermatologist and like so many of his relationships, things ended badly.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, men over 50 are at highest risk for developing skin cancer—more than twice the rate as women. Why? Because of more sun exposure and fewer visits to the doctor. Golfing is great but be sure to wear some sun screen!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend wearing long sleeves and pants, hats with wide brims, sunglasses, and sunscreen when outdoors for either fun or work. Lower your skin cancer risk by avoiding exposure to UV light that comes from tanning beds or sunlamps.
#10 HIV and AIDS
Men who are infected with HIV may not realize it, as initial symptoms may mimic a cold or flu. However, new infections are on the rise among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that in 2009, 61 percent of all new HIV infections were attributed to same-sex activity and that 69 percent of new HIV infections were among young males aged 13-29.
However, those are not the only category of people who are still infected with AIDS and HIV every year. Even men who have sex with only women can still contract the disease if they aren’t careful. Refusal to wear a rubber isn’t brave, it is stupid. If she isn’t on the pill or doing something else you need to be wearing protection bro.
While it doesn’t happen as frequently as it used to men who share needles while taking recreational drugs can also contract HIV and AIDS. You probably shouldn’t be using drugs anyway but if you are and it involves a needle don’t share man, it is not cool.
Be a Proactive Man!!
Hopefully what you have learned from this post is that it pays to be proactive. Get checked up on a regular basis, even if you aren’t feeling bad or ill. Better to catch something early than to catch it late!
If you think you are at risk for any of the above health concerns than you need to change your habits and be more intentional about your health! It can be a scary proposition addressing your health but you should avoid it altogether. Failure to be proactive can lead to premature death. Don’t do that to your loved ones. Pick up the phone and make an appointment today!
Let’s all make a decision to be healthier heading into 2015! As always, make it a better day!