By David Saadat, MD

Men’s Health Awareness Month: It’s Time To Save The Men

Over the years we’ve seen bumper stickers asking us to save the whales, the elephants and any number of other wildlife species. I’m all for it. However, we haven’t yet seen a bumper sticker asking us to “save the men.” But, believe me, there are many among us who do need saving.

June Is Men’s Health Awareness Month

Historically women live longer than men. In fact, 57% of all those ages 65 and older are female. By age 85, 67% are women. The average lifespan is about 5 years longer for women than men in the U.S., and about 7 years longer worldwide.

According to Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor at Harvard Health Publishing there are many obvious factors contributing to the disparate ratio of men to women over time, which he states is roughly equal in young adulthood. Among the most powerful factors, Dr. Shmerling, says that men “tend to take bigger risks.” As a result this is why more boys and men die in accidents or in acts of violence than girls and women. More men drive drunk, ride motorcycles and are involved in homicides.

Because men are typically much stronger than women, they also have more dangerous jobs. Men far outnumber women in some of the riskiest occupations, including military combat, firefighting, and working at construction sites.

It’s also a well-established fact that far more men than women die of heart disease at an early age. In fact, men are 50% more likely than women to die of heart disease. One fact that may contribute to this is that men have lower estrogen levels than women. But, a large majority of men do not have regular medical check-ups, so high blood pressure and unfavorable cholesterol levels go undetected and untreated, which very often contributes to the earlier deaths.

It is also a fact that men tend to commit suicide more frequently than women do.  Men tend to avoid seeking care for depression since there is still a pervasive negative cultural attitude toward any form of mental illness. Any form of depression is often perceived as weakness.

And, as I mentioned earlier, men tend to avoid doctors. Getting men to report symptoms and go for regular follow-up treatments for chronic medical problems could counter some of the tendencies that cause men to die earlier.

Wear Blue To Show That You Support Men’s Health Awareness

Wearing blue throughout the month of June signifies your support of Men’s Health Awareness month. As pink has become synonymous with Breast Cancer Awareness, blue ribbons and wearing blue has become a national initiative to help bring much needed awareness to men’s lack of awareness about their health. Encourage the men in your life to schedule a medical check-up this month. Encourage the men you care about to educate themselves about testicular cancer and skin cancer. Encourage them to become interested in diet and exercise as daily events that contribute to greater quality of life. Give your spouse, partner, brother, son or other men in your life one of our special services. After all, the skin is the largest bodily organ and keeping it healthy is the greatest defense when it comes to preventing skin cancer. Show how much you care about saving the men in your life.

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