Man talking to his doctor

June is Men’s Health Month: What You Should Know

Observed in the same month, we celebrate the father figures in our lives, Men’s Health Month is a time to raise awareness and educate men, boys, and their loved ones about their health, preventative methods, and conditions of concern, empowering them to take charge by making healthy choices and decisions. It is estimated that about 60 percent of men receive annual routine check-ups with a physician, with the remaining 40 percent only going to the doctor if something is seriously wrong. Unfortunately, for many health conditions, waiting until your symptoms are critical could be too late. The overall mortality rate for men is 41 percent higher than for women, with the leading causes of death being heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes-related conditions. To get on a healthy path to better wellness, boys and men can take steps to care for their physical, mental, and social health.

Men’s Physical Health Milestones

The first step is to schedule an appointment and establish yourself as a patient with a primary care provider. A primary care provider acts as your personal physician, reviewing your medical and family history, performing yearly-to-quarterly checkups depending on your health status, and initiating medical tests to establish a baseline for your health. This is also an opportunity to discuss any health concerns or potential symptoms. Additionally, your primary doctor may advise on potential health screenings, including:

Recommended Male Health Screenings, ages 18 – 39

  • Annual Physical Exam: check vital signs like blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing; observe appearance, ears, nose, throat, and more for potential warning signs; perform testicular, hernia, and prostate examinations.
  • Laboratory Testing: blood and urine tests to check body functionality, lipid profiles, blood sugar tests, and others based on personal and family history.
  • Immunizations: Updating potential vaccinations for flu, COVID, Hepatitis A/B, HPV (human papillomavirus), MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), and Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis).
  • STI Screenings: If sexually active, routine screening for chlamydia, gonorrhea, Hepatitis B/C, HIV, and syphilis.
  • Risk Screenings: Based on lifestyle, a physician may recommend additional screenings for users of alcohol, recreational drugs, steroids, and tobacco.
  • Family Planning: This includes both preventive conception and pre-conception counseling.

Recommended Male Health Screenings, ages 40 – 64

  • Annual Physical Exam: check vital signs like blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing; observe appearance, ears, nose, throat, and more for potential warning signs; perform testicular, hernia, and prostate examinations.
  • Laboratory Testing: blood and urine tests to check body functionality, lipid profiles, blood sugar tests, and others based on personal and family history.
  • Immunizations: Updating potential vaccinations for Shingles (if over 50), flu, COVID, Hepatitis A/B, HPV, MMR, and Tdap.
  • STI Screenings: If sexually active, routine screening for chlamydia, gonorrhea, Hepatitis B/C, HIV, and syphilis.
  • Cancer Screening: Depending on family history and lifestyle, this can include colon, lung, prostate, and skin cancers. A man is almost three times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer if his father, brother, or son has been diagnosed.
  • Cardiovascular Risk Screening: Assessment and tests to maintain heart health and prevent severe cardiovascular conditions and events through early detection.
  • Risk Screenings: Based on lifestyle, a physician may recommend additional screenings for users of alcohol, recreational drugs, steroids, and tobacco.
  • Family Planning: This includes both preventive conception and pre-conception counseling.
  • Annual Eye Exam

Recommended Male Health Screenings, over age 65

  • Annual Physical Exam: check vital signs like blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing; observe appearance, ears, nose, throat, and more for potential warning signs; perform testicular, hernia, and prostate examinations.
  • Laboratory Testing: blood and urine tests to check body functionality, lipid profiles, blood sugar tests, and others based on personal and family history.
  • Immunizations: Updating potential vaccinations for Shingles, pneumonia, flu, COVID, Hepatitis A/B, HPV, MMR, and Tdap.
  • STI Screenings: If sexually active, routine screening for chlamydia, gonorrhea, Hepatitis B/C, HIV, and syphilis.
  • Cancer Screening: Depending on family history and lifestyle, this can include colon, lung, prostate, and skin cancers.
  • Cardiovascular Risk Screening: Assessment and tests to maintain heart health and prevent severe cardiovascular conditions and events through early detection.
  • Thyroid Screening
  • Osteoporosis Screening: Particularly for men over 70 who are losing height over time or have been diagnosed with a low-impact fracture. A fall risk assessment is typically included.
  • Risk Screenings: Based on lifestyle, a physician may recommend additional screenings for users of alcohol, recreational drugs, steroids, and tobacco.
  • Family Planning: This includes both preventive conception and pre-conception counseling.
  • Annual Eye Exam

Staying informed about your health can help men manage potential health risks and detect possible health conditions early. With more than 350,000 men dying from cardiovascular disease each year and over 700,000 men diagnosed with cancer, early detection really does save lives.  The American Urological Foundation has several health checklists for men and other helpful resources.

Men’s Mental Health is a Priority

Similar to seeing a primary care provider, men are less likely to seek mental health support than women. However, men are more likely to die from substance abuse (including drug overdoses and alcohol-related illnesses) and suicide. About 31 percent of men will suffer from depression during their lifetime, and for men who have chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, depression can worsen their health outcomes. Common signs of depression in men can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Appetite changes
  • Constant irritability, anger, or mood swings
  • Fatigue, insomnia, or hypersomnia
  • Indecisiveness
  • Loss of interest and withdrawal from loved ones
  • Negative thoughts
  • Reckless behavior
  • Relentless sadness or hopelessness
  • Substance abuse, including alcohol
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Unexplained headaches or back pain

There is no shame in asking for help. If you do not feel comfortable speaking with family or friends, talk to your doctor about a referral to a mental health provider.

Take Charge: Better Lifestyle Choices for Men

One of the main reasons men avoid seeking a medical professional is fear of diagnosis. While men should see a primary care provider at least once a year, making better lifestyle choices can help improve health outcomes, such as:

  • A Healthy, Balanced Diet. We all know that vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are good for us, but it can be challenging to know what you actually need. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a MyPlate widget to help you determine the foods you should eat based on age, activity level, height, and weight.
  • Get Active. Even if you take a 10-minute walk three times a week, a little activity is better than none. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has a free Move Your Way Activity Planner to help you set goals and stay motivated.
  • Quit Smoking. It is never too late to quit smoking. That’s because as soon as you do, you immediately improve your health and reduce your risks of cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and other illnesses. If you need support, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention provides free helpful tips and resources from former smokers. You can also find help locally through Tobacco Free Hendry County and Tobacco Free Glades County.
  • Limit or Stop Drinking Alcohol. Heavy to moderate alcohol consumption can increase your risk of certain chronic conditions. Understanding how alcohol can impact your health can make a difference in your long-term health outcomes.
  • Manage Stress. Reducing your stress, or how you respond to stress, can help lower your risk for critical conditions such as heart disease and depression. The American Heart Association has some helpful resources and tips for managing stress.

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