June is Men’s Health Month, with the focus for boys and young men to be proactive in their health and lifestyle choices for better long-term health outcomes.
The truth is, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13.2% of men aged 18 and older are in fair or poor health. These men are not getting proper health screenings or regular check-ups. And in some cases, they are participating in risky behaviors, such as tobacco use or drinking alcohol excessively, that can contribute to chronic, long-term health problems.
Overall, men die on average five years earlier than women and face health problems that women don’t, such as prostate cancer. Preventive screenings and regular healthcare visits with your primary care provider are important steps in maintaining good health.
Making Good Choices
How can men ensure that they are caring for themselves as best as possible?
- Good nutrition and regular exercise are important, so that the body gets the proper vitamins and minerals for optimum health and that the body systems enjoy the benefits of regular cardiovascular and weight-bearing exercises. Coquille Valley Hospital and its Clinic Nutrition Services are available to help you and your doctor meet your nutritional health needs.
- Another great step men can take for their health is to schedule regular check-ups with a primary care provider, and to stay up-to-date on vaccinations against various diseases that can potentially cause health problems. Vaccines are available as a preventive measure against a number of modern diseases, such as the flu, COVID-19, shingles, etc., so speak to your provider about what’s age appropriate and how to stay current.
- Lab work, too, is an essential part of preventive healthcare, identifying how the body is performing. Blood tests can reveal many conditions, including prostate cancer, and provide the information providers need to make decisions regarding treatment.
- Both engaging in tobacco use and drinking alcohol excessively pose a risk to long-term health outcomes, including increasing your chances of dealing with certain cancers, as well as compromising the health of your heart and liver. Both tobacco use and regular alcohol use are addictive behaviors, and alcohol in particular can put you and others in danger because it impairs your physical ability to drive, etc. Your healthcare provider not only can help you find the right path to quit using tobacco but also assess your drinking habits for alcohol abuse.
- Men are also at risk for sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV and human papillomavirus (HPV). Vaccinations against HPV lower your chances of getting the virus, which can cause certain cancers, such as throat, penile or anal cancers. Speak to your primary care provider about the HPV vaccine as well as about safe sex practices to prevent the spread of STDs.
Finally, if it’s been a while since you’ve had an annual health check-up, it’s time to make an appointment with your primary care provider. Don’t wait to be proactive about your healthcare!