June is Men’s Health Month — a great time to encourage the guys you care about to take their health seriously. If you’re a man who schedules preventive screening exams and you check in with your doctor when symptoms appear, we applaud you for prioritizing your health.
Men are less likely to seek healthcare than women. Reasons vary from being too busy to not thinking it’s necessary and worrying that they will be viewed as weak. Some 21% of men avoid the doctor because they are reluctant to find out what’s wrong.
What’s Ailing Men the Most?
Here are three of the most common and serious health issues facing men today:
One in every 4 male deaths in the United States can be attributed to heart disease. It’s an insidious disease that can include everything from heart failure to coronary artery disease. In many cases, heart disease can be prevented — another reason why men should take their health seriously. Now is a great time to schedule an annual wellness visit which includes checking blood pressure and, when needed, cholesterol or blood sugar. Remember to share any family history of heart trouble, stroke, or diabetes with your primary care physician. This can help the physician give personalized advice on heart disease risk and what can be done now to avoid illness later.
Some of the symptoms to watch for include:
- angina (chest pain)
- shortness of breath
- changes in extremities, such as pain, swelling, tingling, numbness, coldness, and weakness
- extreme fatigue
- irregular heartbeat
Men 18 to 39 should have their blood pressure checked every two years. Men over age 35 should be screened for high cholesterol and heart disease prevention every five years. And, men who are 45 and older should be screened for diabetes every three years.
Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related deaths in men, causing more deaths than the next three leading causes—prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and pancreatic cancer—combined. Smoking is the top risk factor. If you smoke, your medical provider would love to help you stop. If you have a smoking history, talk to your provider about possible screening for lung cancer.
Warning signs include:
- A new cough that is persistent or worsens, or a change in an existing chronic cough
- Cough that produces blood
- Pain in the chest, back or shoulders that worsens during coughing, laughing or deep breathing
- Shortness of breath that comes on suddenly and occurs during everyday activities
- Unexplained weight loss
- Feeling tired or weak
- Loss of appetite
- Lung infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia that won’t go away
- Hoarseness or wheezing
Men should talk with their doctors about when they should get screened for various cancers.
More than 6 million men suffer from depression each year. In addition to the impact on quality of life, men die by suicide at a rate of more than 3 times higher than women. Men are also two to three times more likely to misuse drugs than women.
Yet, men may be less likely to seek treatment for mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and addiction. Many struggle with the unrealistic stigma that seeking help is a sign of weakness.
Men and women can experience similar warning signs that their mental health is suffering:
- Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness
- Noticeable changes in mood, energy level, or appetite
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Difficulty concentrating, feeling restless, or on edge
- Increased worry or feeling stressed
- Misuse of alcohol and/or drugs
- Sadness or hopelessness
- Suicidal thoughts
- Engaging in high-risk activities
- Aches, headaches, digestive problems without a clear cause
- Obsessive thinking or compulsive behavior
- Thoughts or behaviors that interfere with work, family, or social life
- Unusual thinking or behaviors that concern other people
Treatment for depression can be with medication or talk therapy. A few months of treatment can often get rid of symptoms long-term. Our primary doctors are comfortable discussing mental health issues during regular exams. In addition, several providers, like denova, offer telehealth sessions, which offer a private, secure, discreet option for seeking help.
New patients can call denova Collaborative Healthcare at 602-777-6337 for a free, 15-minute wellness consultation. You can also click here to make an appointment online. Remember, if you are experiencing a crisis, please call 911 immediately.