Did you know that women are 100 percent more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? That discrepancy may be part of the reason men die at higher rates than women from nine of the top 10 causes of death.
June is National Men’s Health Month, the goal of which is to increase awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.
Some of the top threats to men’s health are:
Prostate cancer. This cancer is unique to men, and the second most common cancer among men in the United States, following non-melanoma skin cancer. Early symptoms include frequent urination, a weak stream of urine or blood in the urine or semen. Most prostate cancers are slow-growing, but early detection is still important in managing the disease.
Heart disease. This is the number one cause of death for men in the United States. An unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, smoking and binge drinking increase a man’s chance to develop heart disease.
Diabetes. Obesity, smoking and a lack of physical activity are risk factors for type 2 diabetes, where the body is unable to control blood glucose levels.
Binge drinking. A study by the CDC showed that men were two times more likely to engage in binge drinking than women. Excessive drinking poses several risks, including stroke, high blood pressure and cirrhosis of the liver.
Depression and suicide. Nearly 18 million Americans experience depression each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Men account for 3.5 times the number of suicides as women, despite women dealing with depression at twice the rate of men. Depression could look like disturbances in mood, focus, energy, sleep patterns and interests.
There’s no single cause of depression, rather a variety of biological and environmental factors can play a role. That’s why diagnosis and treatment are so important.
Ways to decrease your risk
We all know that prevention is the best cure for so many diseases and conditions. There are many steps you can take to help decrease your risk of developing these diseases/conditions. They include: quit smoking, eat a healthy diet, get exercise, limit alcohol and manage stress.
Even more important is to get regular preventive care and seek treatment for health issues. Don’t wait until something is seriously wrong to see the doctor. Your primary care physician can be your partner in preventing serious health problems.
Dr. Omar Kazmi is an Aurora Health Care internal medicine physician at Aurora Medical Center in Kenosha. His office can be reached at 262-948-7050.