Most people know that June is the month that we celebrate Dads, whether it’s with a round of golf, new barbecue tools, or yet another necktie. Father’s Day is a great way to show Dad how much you care, but June also provides another way to honor all the men in your life. This June, participate in Men’s Health month and improve your health and well-being – or that of someone you love.
Are Men Unhealthier Than Women?
Men have a lower life expectancy than their female counterparts, with an average lifespan of 76.4 compared to 81.2 for women. Like women, the top 2 leading causes of death for men are heart disease and cancer, but men are far more likely to die of unintentional injuries (the third leading cause of death, compared to the 6th leading cause for women). Men have higher rates of smoking then women and are 4 times more likely to commit suicide. In short, men are not only likely to live shorter lives than women; they are also generally less healthy in life. Why is this?
One possible explanation for this phenomenon is that men are 100% less likely to visit a doctor for annual examinations and preventive services compared to women. This means that they are less likely to receive life-saving preventive screenings that could identify health problems and receive treatments that can improve overall life quality.
What Can You Do About It?
Want to improve the health of the man in your life, or take charge of your own health? Here are some simple ways to get involved:
- Schedule an Annual Physical
When was the last time you went in for a check-up? If you can’t remember, it’s time to make an appointment with your primary care provider. Remember that the Affordable Care Act requires insurers to cover all your preventive services in full, so you will not incur any costs for your annual check-ups. At your physical, expect a review of your health history and physical exam. Your provider may go through a review of all your major systems and ask about any symptoms that you’re experiencing, as well as any medications you’re taking. Be sure to mention if you’re experiencing symptoms that affect your quality of life, such as:
- Sleep disturbance or trouble falling or staying asleep
- Shortness of breath, dizziness, or episodes of “tunnel vision”
- Numbness of the hands or feet
- Excessive thirst or hunger
Symptoms like these can be indicators of an underlying medical condition. An annual physical will also include blood-work to make sure your major body systems are working as they should. Michigan Urgent Care offers preventive screenings for your convenience – reserve a spot at one of our walk-in clinics.
- Take Care of Your Mental Health
Men are much less likely to seek help for depression, anxiety, and other behavioral health issues. Though women and men are equally likely to have a substance use disorder (SUD), men are statistically more likely to use illicit drugs and die of overdoses. This may help explain why men commit suicide at a rate that is 4 times higher than women, coupled the societal expectation that men “tough it out” through hard times. If you’re experiencing any symptoms of anxiety or depression or have trouble breaking a dependence on drugs or alcohol, speak up! If you experience a dependence on alcohol, drugs, or struggle with feelings of depression, tell your Michigan Urgent Care provider, who can connect you with resources in your community.
- Get Your Workplace Involved
Did you know that men account for 92% of all occupational deaths and are more likely to sustain serious injuries at work? Men make up the lion’s share of the workforce in the most dangerous professions like logging, fishery, roofing, steel working, and truck driving. Encourage your workplace to start or improve an occupational health program that includes physicals, health education, on-the-job training, and more. Michigan Urgent Care provides full range of occupational health services such as physicals and immunizations, and also offers worker’s comp services for employees.
- Know Your Health Risks and Screening Schedule
In general, men should participate in simple screening activities that can identify cancer and other diseases in their earliest stages:
- Regular cholesterol screenings starting at age 35 can help measure your heart disease risk.
- Dental exams every 6 months can prevent tooth decay and periodontists, which can help control and even prevent other diseases such as diabetes or infectious endocarditis.
- A vision exam once a year can help identify issues such as myopia (poor vision), cataracts, or glaucoma.
- A colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening starting at age 50 is the best way to prevent advanced colon stages of colon cancer, one of the leading causes of cancer-related death in men.
- Men over 65 who have a smoking history should be screened for abdominal aortic aneurysm with a CT scan.
- Regular prostate screenings can help reduce the chance of being diagnosed advanced-stage prostate cancer.
This June, take charge of your health or encourage the men in your life to lead healthier, happier lives. Contact Michigan Urgent Care to reserve your spot or learn more about our preventative and occupational health services.