During November, also known as Movember, men grow mustaches to raise awareness about men’s health. These awareness efforts have become more important in recent decades as the mortality gap between men and women has remained significant.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in 2016, men lived to an average age of 76.1 compared to an average age of 81.1 for women.
With this mortality age gap even widening slightly compared to 2015, it’s important to discuss health issues specific to men. Raising awareness, particularly about being proactive is key in helping many men reduce their risk of common health issues.
Here are five things you might not have known about men’s health issues.
1. Men are less likely to go to the doctor, even when they believe they may have a serious health problem
According to a 2016 survey of 500 men conducted by Cleveland Clinic, nearly 60 percent of men don’t go to the doctor when they fear they have a serious medical condition. Additionally, 40 percent of men do not visit the doctor for a yearly routine checkup.
The survey concluded that while men tend to pay more attention to their health as they get older, they should be more engaged patients throughout their lives. Seeing a doctor more often could make a big difference in preventing illness or catching one early on.
2. Men develop heart disease 10-15 years earlier than women and are more likely to die of the condition at a younger age.
Male or female, heart disease or heart attacks is the leading cause of death among all Americans. Men, however, usually develop heart disease 10-15 years earlier than women and are more likely to die of it at a younger age. Other conditions that lead to heart disease like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes are also common among men.
Despite these harrowing statistics, heart disease and stroke are largely preventable. While it may seem to only affect older adults, you should start developing good habits at a young age. Some good habits include exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, avoiding processed foods and reducing your stress levels.
3. Men are less likely to suffer from mental health problems but are more likely to commit suicide.
While mental health issues like depression are discussed more today than in the past, they still carry negative perceptions. Although women are statistically more likely to suffer from mental health disorders, men are still more likely to commit suicide. According to the American Foundation for Suicide and Prevention, 7 out of 10 suicides in 2016 were committed by men.
Along with going to the doctor less for other health conditions, men may be even more unlikely to seek help if they’re suffering from depression. While other variables may be involved with the high rate of male suicide, seeing a doctor when you have depression symptoms is one factor that could make all the difference.
4. Many men across age groups do not know the right age to be screened for various health conditions.
A majority of men across age groups do not know the right age to be screened for various health conditions, according to the 2016 survey conducted by Cleveland Clinic. Do you know?
Starting at age 20, the American Heart Association recommends regular cardiovascular screening tests and blood pressure screenings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends screening for colorectal cancer between ages 50-75. The Urology Care Foundation also recommends prostate cancer screenings for individuals aged 55-69 years old.
5. Lower mortality age for men may be due to lifestyle choices
Some experts attribute men’s lower mortality rate to their tendency to drink and smoke more. Many other lifestyle factors such as exercise and diet play a role as well.
For men, heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death followed by cancer. Men can lower their risk of both these ailments by living a healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition and exercise. Therefore, the right recommendations and guidance from experts like doctors are important too.
At NUHS Whole Health Center, our chiropractic physicians believe in the importance of preventative health care. Beyond treating the symptoms of an illness, our interns are trained to help patients with the lifestyle and exercise habits that can be key to reducing the risk of a number of ailments. In collaboration with Cleveland HeartLab, Inc., our clinicians also offer inflammatory and other innovative and scientifically proven biomarker tests to assess a patient’s risk for heart disease or heart attack.
Learn more about the services offered at the NUHS Whole Health Center by visiting the clinic patient page on our website.
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About the Author
Dr. Brian Anderson