It’s a fact: women in the U.S. are far more conscientious about their health than men. They go to the doctor more often, eat better, seek mental health support when needed and talk about their health issues with friends.
As a result, men tend to be less healthy than women and have a shorter life expectancy.
In the U.S., men die at higher rates from nine of the top 10 causes of death and live five fewer years, on average. Men are half as likely to visit their doctor as women and four times more likely to commit suicide.
That’s why Congress designated June to be Men’s Health Month. The goal is to raise awareness among men about good health practices, including prevention, early detection and medical treatment.
Here are five things men should know and do about their health.
- Fix Your Diet
Men in the U.S. eat way too much manufactured food (candy, donuts), processed sugar (baked goods, soda), fats (fast food), salt (processed foods) and empty calories (ketchup, beer). No wonder so many American men have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. A few tweaks would go a long way towards restoring good health. Dump the sugary soft drinks in favor of water. Replace the white potatoes, fried foods and cheese with vegetables and fruits. Try it for a month to prove to yourself you can do it. Then keep it going all year.
- Set Some Health Goals
Many American men suffer poor health silently and passively. Decide instead to improve your health in some measurable way this month, whether that means losing weight, improving sleep or dealing with anxiety. Visit with your primary care provider to get started.
- Get Educated
There’s a lot of bad information about our health out there. Know the facts before embarking on a health self-improvement campaign. Visit the CDC for the latest health information, facts and figures.
- Get a Checkup
Everyone should have an annual checkup. Many common diseases like diabetes and hypertension are symptom-free but can be detected early by a doctor. Men over 50 should have colonoscopies every 10 years and update immunizations, including getting a flu shot.
During that annual visit, men need to have their prostate checked. After all, prostate cancer is the number one cancer among men, killing 30,000 American men annually, according to the National Cancer Institute. The disease is even more frightening among African-American men with the death rate doubling that of white men.
- Talk about It
The picture of the iconic cowboy loner, stoic in the face of pressure, appeals to many men. But it is a prescription for anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. Women suffer more mental illnesses than men, but they seek help at a higher rate. The result is that men tend to suffer in silence, leading to a much higher suicide rate. Men should know that chemical imbalances in the brain are not a sign of weakness. Seeking help is a sign of strength.
Providence St. Patrick Hospital wants everyone in Missoula to take care of his or her health. Home to some of the northern Rocky Mountain region’s most advanced health care since 1873, Providence St. Patrick Hospital is committed to you. For more information, call 406-329-5668 or visit Montana.Providence.org/locations-directory/s/st-patrick-hospital.
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