Each year in June, we take time to recognize Men’s Health Month. The goal is to spread awareness of preventable health issues that affect males of all ages. As a public education program on men’s health, the purpose of spreading awareness is to encourage early detection and treatment of various problems head to toe.
In honor of this mission, keep reading to learn about valuable lifestyle changes that could make a difference in your life or the lives of other men around you.
Go to the doctor
An integral part of staying healthy is going to the doctor when you are dealing with an ailment, as well as going for routine check-ups. Yet, a survey by the Cleveland Clinic found that 60% of men don’t go to the doctor when they need to — even when they suspect the issue of being serious. In many cases, delaying the diagnosis or ignoring the issue altogether will only make it worse. You should consider yourself lucky if an ailment heals on its own.
Even if you are healthy, seeing a doctor for routine physicals is still important. A doctor can monitor your health over time and make a note of any changes; they can also discover underlying issues that you may never notice. Furthermore, doctors will make sure that you are up to date on immunizations and screenings for serious issues like prostate or colon cancer. However, a doctor can only help you if you are being honest. Doctors are confidential and serve in your self-interest, even when health issues may be embarrassing.
Sexual health issues are some of the most embarrassing issues that men are unwilling to discuss. Be that as it may, a simple conversation can lead to proper treatment and solve issues in a quick manner. For example, men may go years while struggling with premature ejaculation, without even knowing that there is medication readily available. After discussing the problem with your doctor, they may recommend a premature ejaculation spray or other medications. The path to a healthier lifestyle starts with a conversation.
Start a conversation
You should be willing to have a conversation with your doctor, but you should also have conversations with your friends and family. More light has been shed on mental health struggles in recent years, but it seems that men are still reluctant to seek help. Despite women attempting suicide at higher rates, a majority of suicide deaths are men. There may be several reasons for this disparity, but one certainly worth noting is that women are more likely to seek medical help and have higher rates of consultation for depression.
Sadly, many people say they would be there for a friend or family member who is struggling but are less willing to reach out for help if they are the one in need. However, it’s not selfish to put your needs first when it comes to mental health. After summoning the courage and strength to seek help for yourself, checking in on others may give them the needed support to share their struggles as well.
Treat issues when they occur
When you become aware of any ailment — no matter how big or small — it’s important to seek proper medical help. If you delay addressing the issue, it may only make it worse and more difficult to treat. It’s a cliche saying, but “it’s better to be safe, than sorry” applies to the medical world too.
In most cases, the survival rate of serious diseases like cancer only get worse as time goes on before treatment begins. For example, testicular cancer is one of the least deadly forms of cancer. If treatment begins when the disease is contained to the testicles, the survival rate is 99%. However, when the cancer spreads to outer regions in the body, the survival rate drops as low as 74%. The survival rate may still be higher than other forms of cancer, but it’s not a risk worth taking. If something seems off with your body, it’s much better to investigate early and have it be nothing than wait it out and experience survival rates drop and treatment become more difficult.
Even situations that aren’t life and death can benefit from early diagnosis too. Male pattern baldness can be embarrassing for young men, whose first instinct may be to pretend like it isn’t happening and cover it up with a hat. However, the longer men wait to address the issue, the more difficult it will become to stop the hair loss and possibly even regrow it. It’s natural to be in denial over issues that are difficult to deal with, but proactivity is the first step in finding a solution.
Improve your diet and exercise routine
A well-regulated diet and frequent exercise are two major facets to living a healthy lifestyle. It’s best to change your habits when you are young, but it’s never too late to start. Although genetic history may put us at a higher risk for certain ailments, a healthy lifestyle can be the difference-maker in staving off certain diseases.
For reasons still fully not understood, men are at greater risk than women for heart and stroke through every stage of their lives. The best steps that men can take are consuming a healthier diet, exercising at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week, and quitting smoking and alcohol. It may not seem possible, but you can fit a fitness routine into a busy schedule; it’s imperative to make this change and more. With heart disease the leading cause of death in the United States, these changes could save your life.
Even if you never develop heart disease, healthy lifestyle changes can prevent obesity and its associated complications. Obesity is one of the major causes of type II diabetes, which may be a lifelong struggle once it begins. Because 9 out of 10 people with prediabetes don’t know they have the issue, it’s important to be familiar with signs of high blood pressure. With the help of a professional, modifying your diet and exercise could help to reverse these causes.