November is Men’s Health Awareness Month, popularly associated with the “No Shave” social media challenge, in which people grow facial hair for the month of November to spark conversations relating to men’s health. The Movember Foundation uses the month to raise the awareness about men’s health issues including prostate and testicular cancers, mental health issues, and suicide.
Globally, women outlive men by over 4 years. According to the World Health Organization men live an average of 69.8 years while women live an average of 74.2 years. And these early deaths in men are largely from preventable causes, which means that it doesn’t have to be this way.
One of the reasons for this mortality gap is that, on average, men are less likely to seek out healthcare than women. Unfortunately, many diseases that affect men, like prostate and testicular cancers, develop over long periods without revealing obvious symptoms in the early stages. Early detection can be the difference between life and death; without routine healthcare visits, men may only become aware of a health condition in the later stages, when treatment options are fewer and health outcomes poorer.
Men are also less likely than women to seek mental health care. While mental health has entered into public conversation more and more in recent years, too many men still feel they have to be strong and macho in all situations and ignore early signs of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Suppressed mental health issues are often linked to suicide, and it’s no surprise that of the over 700,000 suicides that happens yearly, two-thirds of them are attributed to men.
So What Preventive Care Steps Can Men Take?
1. Take Annual Medical Exams
Getting your annual physical exam helps you understand your body better as it changes over time and can play a crucial role in preventing and detecting potential diseases early.
2. Keep Fit And Watch Your Diet
Maintaining an active lifestyle and a healthy diet improves your physical and mental health. Regular exercise and good nutrition also help control many aging-related health issues, like high blood pressure, as does avoiding tobacco products (like cigarettes, cigars, and shisha) and minimizing alcohol consumption.
3. Update Your Vaccinations
Vaccinations and immunizations are a great way to protect yourself against diseases. Getting your COVID-19 vaccine is very important, as the vaccines are effective at preventing severe COVID-19 disease and death. Also, as you get older, you might need to get booster shots for diseases like tetanus and chickenpox because immunity against some diseases wears off with time.
You should talk to a primary care clinician to know what vaccinations are appropriate for you.
4. Take Time To Do The Things You Enjoy
We know that life gets hectic, and there never seems to be enough hours in a day, but taking time to rest, unwind, and do things you enjoy plays a big role in keeping your mind and body healthy. From things like travelling to things as simple as listening to music from your favourite band. Finding the time to do these things not only helps your mental health but your physical health as well.
5. Speak Up!
There is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about in seeking help when you feel distressed physically or mentally. If you have any issues or concerns, talk to your primary care clinician.
SentinelX is a membership-based health practice that emphasizes preventive, personalized, and continuous care. We combine human touch with technology to make primary care cheaper, faster, and more accessible to enable you live your healthiest life.