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Despite progress in raising healthcare awareness, men often neglect their health. Statistics consistently show that men pay less attention than women to taking preventative measures and scheduling regular check-ups. This oversight can have very negative consequences. Not only are men more prone to risky behaviors, but they are less likely to seek medical help when warranted. 

June marks Men’s Health Month, a reminder for men to prioritize their well-being. At Northwest Specialty Hospital, our family practice clinic can treat men for various health conditions, and regular check-ups can be crucial in identifying issues that should be addressed. For men who are not currently seeing a doctor regularly, Men’s Health Month is an ideal time to set up an appointment with one of our practitioners and get on a regular annual schedule for physical exams and age-appropriate screenings and tests.

As a rule, men tend to downplay any aches, pains, and problems they experience. This often means they may only address serious health issues once they reach an advanced stage. Understanding men’s health challenges and knowing what signs to watch for can be lifesaving.

Common Health Issues for Men

If you have a man in your life – a father, husband, brother, son, or friend – who tends toward being stoic when it comes to health issues, or if you are one of these men yourself(!), make an effort to be more mindful of any signs that could indicate a health issue that should be addressed sooner rather than later. Here are some of the most common health threats that men face.

Heart Disease: A Silent Threat

Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death among men in the United States. Shockingly, half of the men who succumb to heart disease had no prior symptoms. Factors such as diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking heighten the risk. Regular check-ups that involve blood tests and blood pressure checks, combined with maintaining a healthy and physically active lifestyle, can lessen the risk of developing heart disease.

Diabetes: Beyond Blood Sugar

Diabetes affects one in ten Americans, with men experiencing specific complications such as urinary tract infections, overactive bladder, erectile dysfunction, and male incontinence. If you have a family history of diabetes, you should be even more vigilant. Take time to learn the signs and symptoms of diabetes and seek medical care if you notice any. Diabetes can be managed, but it is crucial to catch it early before you experience more severe problems.

Lung Cancer: Not Just a Smoker’s Concern

The leading cause of developing lung cancer continues to be smoking, but non-smokers can also be at risk. If you are a former smoker, you should get screened regularly for lung cancer. Screening is effective at detecting it early, which can significantly improve treatment outcomes.

Depression: Breaking Through the Barriers

Depression affects both men and women, but societal stigmas often prevent men from seeking help. Ignoring symptoms of depression can lead to devastating consequences. Recognizing signs such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, loss of interest, and persistent feelings of hopelessness is critical, and should prompt you to seek support and treatment.

Prostate Cancer: Early Detection Saves Lives

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States. If you are experiencing any symptoms — difficulty urinating, weak urine flow, frequent urination, and pelvic pain — it is crucial to have a prompt discussion with a healthcare provider and get a screening test. However, remember that some men will not experience any symptoms, so regular blood tests are crucial for early detection. Catching prostate cancer at an early stage can significantly improve the chances of successful treatment.

Prioritizing Men’s Health

While these are some critical and specific health problems that men face as they age, they are not the only things to watch for. As a general matter, it is important to note any symptoms or changes that can indicate the existence of an underlying health issue. Rather than just assigning changes to causes such as age or what they ate last night, men should take note if they notice these subtle signs of a health problem: excessive fatigue, unintentional weight loss, changes in bladder and bowel habits, and increased irritability. These and other noticeable changes may be signs of health concerns that require treatment. Paying attention and promptly seeking medical advice can lead to early diagnosis and intervention.

During Men’s Health Month, we emphasize the importance of regular health check-ups and open communication with healthcare providers. Breaking down societal barriers that prevent men from seeking help for physical and mental health concerns is crucial for promoting overall well-being. By taking proactive steps towards better health, men can lead longer, healthier lives.

If it has been at least a year since you or that special man in your life last had a physical exam, contact our family medicine clinic today to schedule an appointment with one of our providers. Let’s make Men’s Health Month a time for empowerment, education, and action towards better health outcomes.

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