3 Men’s Health Issues We Should Be Talking About
Here at Wellistic, our team has been raising money for Movember, a charity movement that occurs during the month of November, marked by moustaches grown by men hoping to change the face of men’s health (both literally and figuratively) and raise awareness for men’s health issues. The charity seeks to educate on health risk and prevention for conditions that affect men such as depression and suicide, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer.
The problem is, not enough men talk about their health, and that’s something Movember hopes to change. As we near the end of November, we’re hoping to propel the conversations that need to happen surrounding the health issues that affect men the most– and are talked about the least.
Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. This year, the American Cancer Society estimated that there would be about 174,650 new cases of prostate cancer. During their lifetime, about 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed.
Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow in the prostate gland. The prostate is found only in males and is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. Most prostate cancers grow slowly, although some can grow and spread quickly.
For prostate cancer, a huge risk factor for men is age. About 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men older than 65. Chances of getting prostate cancer increase greatly after age 50.
Prostate cancer can be found early through screenings such as blood tests, rectal exams, and biopsies. And although you can’t prevent cancer completely, maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, and eating a healthy diet can lower risk. For more information on prostate cancer, treatment, and prevention, visit the American Cancer Society.
Depression and Suicide
Mental health is a difficult subject for anyone to talk about. Though still stigmatized in our society, mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, and more affect millions of people. In fact, 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.
About 17.7 million American adults suffer from depression. This debilitating illness not only impacts mood, but can also have detrimental effects on sleep, appetite, energy levels, and relationships. For men, depression may be something they don’t feel comfortable talking about with others. Social constructs can form beliefs that it’s not okay for men to talk about their emotions. This may be why many men are less likely to reach out for help and access treatment than women, or more likely to turn to negative coping strategies to try to manage their intense emotions. Depression can also increase the likelihood of developing heart disease and other health conditions like metabolic diseases.
For men, suicide carries frightening statistics. Though women attempt suicide more often, men are more successful at completing their attempt. 75% of people who die by suicide are male. That’s why it’s especially important for men to reach out to someone they trust and seek help for depression and/or suicidal thoughts. Need to talk to someone immediately? The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has a free confidential chat and phone number here.
Diabetes is a disease related to insulin and blood sugar levels in the body. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin at all while in type 2 (the most common type), the body doesn’t use insulin properly. Anyone of any age, race, and gender can develop diabetes in their lifetime. Boys born in the year 2000 however, have a 1 in 3 chance of developing diabetes.
Since diabetes has a silent, slow onset of symptoms, it may take longer for men to recognize that they have diabetes. Men with diabetes may face a slew of other health issues including heart disease, kidney disease, lower testosterone levels, and sexual impotence.
While some people may use medication and insulin as treatment methods to control diabetes, maintaining a healthy diet and staying active are huge components of managing the disease. Diet and exercise can even prevent type 2 diabetes. For more information on diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association.
Awareness is the first step in being a more health-conscious person. Since health isn’t usually a priority for many men, they tend to lead less healthy lives than women and are put at higher risk of developing health conditions that can heavily impact their lives.
For prostate cancer, depression, diabetes, and many other illnesses, it’s important for men to stay informed of symptoms, risk factors, treatments, and prevention. Encourage the men in your lives to talk to a doctor about health concerns, or to seek out information on their health. Conversations about health don’t have to be tough or uncomfortable. Breaking that stigma is up to us.
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