November is Men's Health Awareness Month which focuses on the different health issues faced by men. There is a growing silent crisis in men's health and their well-being. Due to poor lifestyle and lack of awareness in health education, there is a large number of men whose health and wellness are deteriorating steadily. According to research, during the 1920s, the life expectancy of men and women is roughly the same. Today, life expectancy among men is lower or 7 years shorter compared to women.
The relative slack in men's health is caused by various factors and reasons, primarily due to the stigma that it is unmanly to react to the pain that men experience within their bodies, that men should be strong all the time. That's why men often ignore warning signs and symptoms until a health problem becomes serious. The consequence is that men are at greater risk of developing serious health conditions which include heart disease, cancer, suicide, and accidents.
In line with Men's Health Awareness Month, an annual event called Movember is held in which men across the globe are encouraged to grow and groom their mustaches throughout the month of November and raise money to support the Movember Foundation in promoting men's health. This campaign is to stop men from dying too young.
Here are some of the common health issues every man should know:
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men, it includes several types of heart conditions like coronary artery disease, arteriosclerosis, myocardial infarction, and arrhythmia. These heart disorders are common in men because of different risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, age and family history.
Researches show than 1 in every 5 men can suffer from heart attack before the age of 65. Also, the majority of heart disease cases are related to diet and stress. Here are some of the early signs and symptoms of heart disease:
pain and discomfort in the chest (angina)
shortness of breath
dizziness or fainting
According to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), the top-three cancers faced by men are lung, prostate and colorectal cancers with 15.5%, 14.5%, and 11.4%, respectively. The top three cancers contributed 41.4% of all cancers (excluding on-melanoma skin cancer) in 2018.
It is the leading cause of cancer deaths in men across the world. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than any other cancers combined. Men are more likely to develop lung cancer than in women because a lot of them are smokers. The lifetime risk of a man developing the disease is 1 in 13. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of lung cancer:
coughing up blood
shortness of breath
weight loss and loss of appetite
cough that lasts longer than a few weeks
Colorectal cancer is a collective term that involves both rectal and colon cancer. The lifetime chance of developing colorectal cancer is 1 in 22 for men. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men. Here are the risk factors for developing colorectal cancer.
low-fiber and high-fat diet
overweight and obesity
tobacco and alcohol consumption
family history of colorectal cancer
inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis)
Male-specific cancers which are prostate and testicular cancer have reached epidemic proportions among men. Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers in men who are aged 15 to 34 years old. Man aged 15 should check for lumps in his testicles every month.
The prostate cancer has a survival rate of 80% if detected and treated early. Men who are aged over 40 should go for the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test at least every 3 years while men over 50 should be examined annually. Here are some of the early symptoms of prostate cancer:
pain during urination
frequent urination at night
blood in the urine and seminal fluid
pain and discomfort when sitting due to enlarged prostate
According to the Cancer Council, testicular cancer is the second most common cancer in young men who are aged 18 to 39. Some of the symptoms of testicular cancer are the following:
swelling or lump in the testicle
feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
change in the size or shape of the testicle
pain in the lower abdomen
Across the globe, the suicide rate of men is three times higher than women. Men are more likely to commit suicide because they are less likely to obtain support for their emotional health for fear of being branded as weak and less manly. Moreover, men have more difficulty handling stress than women because women have better social networks compared to men who repress their feelings within themselves.
Research shows that while women experience more suicidal thinking, men are more likely to die by suicide. While women attempt suicide more often, men choose more lethal means of suicide. Also, men over the age of 65 are at greater risk of suicide. In 2017, the suicide rate is highest among middle-aged men which account for almost 70% of all suicides in 2017. Here are some of the risk factors for suicide:
social isolation or living alone
history of physical and sexual abuse
loss of loved one and relationship breakdowns
using alcohol and drugs to cope with emotions
suffering from mental illness (depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.)
Men are the primary victims of health-destroying addictions that can also be fatal. Cultural masculine stereotypes may have propelled troubled men to find other avenues of emotional outbursts like taking drugs and drowning themselves with alcohol.
According to the National Drug Research Institute, almost 6,000 Australians have died from alcohol-attributable deaths and hospitalizations in a single year. When it comes to smoking, cigarette smoking is the major reason behind the 90 percent lung cancer deaths in Australia, 63 percent of these deaths are men.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
This is also a major concern since there is an increasing and continuing pandemic about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as AIDS and are taking a frightening toll on young men. Sexually active men should practice safe sex and also avoid having multiple partners. In addition, if you are sexually active it is essential to have regular check-ups with your healthcare practitioner. Here are some of the STIs:
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) - the virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Chlamydia - an infection caused by ‘Chlamydia trachomatis’ bacteria
Genital herpes - caused by herpes simplex virus which is the same type of virus that causes cold sores
Genital warts - lumps in genital areas caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV)
Syphilis - caused by bacteria called ‘Treponema pallidum’ that can cause serious health problems if left untreated.
These major killers are all preventable, we just need to have a healthy diet and a positive lifestyle. We all should learn how to cope with the stress of today's problems in order for us to have a fulfilling life. Changing our lifestyle, eating habits and wellbeing can give us a healthy body and mind which can improve the quality of our life and the people we love.
Disclaimer: The vitamin health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. VitaminsOnly strongly recommends consulting your healthcare professional for any questions concerning your health.