June 19, 2017
Last month I talked about women's health and the celebration of National Women's Health Week during the month of May. (Click here to read article.) Men, I hope that you encouraged the females in your family to take care of their health by making health a top priority in their lives. As you continue to do this throughout the year, it is now time for you to sit up and take control of your own health. The month of June has been designated as Men's Health Month with a week-long celebration that occurred June 12 - 18, 2017, culminating in Father's Day. Men's Health Month speaks to the need for increased awareness of the significant health problems that men often face as well as encouraging regular scheduled health visits for men and boys.
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention men are less healthy than women, on average die six years younger than women and suffer higher mortality rates for the top ten causes of death. In 1920 men on average died only one year earlier than women. Dr. David Germillion of the Men's Health Network identifies men's health as the "silent health crisis in America" stating that American men not only die younger than women but live sicker than women.
The top five leading causes of death for men are heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke. The most commonly diagnosed cancers among men include prostate, lung and colorectal. In several areas, the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data on men's health has not changed significantly since 1997. The survey indicates that slightly more than twelve percent of men eighteen years of age and older see themselves in fair or poor health while close to thirty-five percent are obese and slightly more than thirty-three percent have hypertension. Multiple reasons for a poor outcome on men's health beginning at an early age include dangerous occupation, engaging in unhealthy behaviors, a lack of health insurance, and the lack of preventive health measures including putting off going to the doctor.
According to the Men’s Health Network, men make one-half as many physician visits for prevention as women. The US Department of Health and Human Services states that many of the major health risks that men face including colon cancer and heart disease can actually be prevented and treated with life-style changes and earlier diagnosis. Screening tests often find these diseases early when they are easiest to treat, emphasizing the fact that it is crucial that men go against their tendency of avoiding regular healthcare and begin having regular checkups and screenings. In a 2008 article titled Real Men Wear Gowns, Dr Carolyn M. Clancy M. D. states “real men” will take the needed steps to go to the doctor, get the right medical tests for their age and health status, and even put on a flimsy exam gown if that is what they need to do.
Men, if you have not done so within the last year, take the opportunity during Men's Health Month to get a checkup and make any needed changes to improve your health. In addition:
• Be more physically active if you are not already meeting the daily physical activity guidelines for your age group,
• Make healthy food choices including a variety of fruits and vegetables,
• Get to your healthy weight and stay there,
• Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as using tobacco, not buckling up and not wearing a bicycle helmet,
• Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress,
• Make sure that you are up to date on all immunizations required for your age group.
For all, during the month of June, celebrate men and boys of all ages by encouraging them to take steps to insure longer, healthier, more productive lives. As Lutherans, reach out to others locally and globally to make health a top priority for all men and boys!
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Men's Health,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Health Interview Survey (NHIS),
Real Men Wear Gowns - and Help Their Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality,
Rockville, Maryland, May 2008
Real Men Wear Gowns, www.universityhealthsystem.com
The Silent Health Crises, 1998-2010, The Men’s Health Network, www.menshealthnetwork.org
Connie Pearson, RN, MN, Chair
Health Ministries Task Force, SES