November is fast approaching, during which hundreds of thousands of men throughout the world will take part in ‘Movember’, an annual event aimed at raising awareness of major men’s health issues. For those who don’t know, the concept of ‘Movember’ involves participants growing a moustache throughout the month of November and raising money for the Movember charity via donations.
The Movember foundation is now one of the leading men’s health charities, funding health projects throughout the world and transforming the way in which men’s health is generally perceived – with particular focus on testicular cancer, prostate cancer and mental health/suicide prevention.
There’s no doubt that over recent years, men’s health issues have received more public attention and a lot of credit has to be given to organizations such as the Movember charity for the work they do in raising awareness.
But the fact still remains that men are much less likely to discuss their physical and mental health problems than women. They are also typically less likely to visit a doctor if problems do arise.
So what are the biggest threats to men’s health and how can they be prevented?
Cardiovascular conditions can, of course, manifest in anybody, however, men are at a greater risk. For example, according to this Harvard Medical School publication, men are twice as likely to have a heart attack than women, during their lifetime.
There are numerous cancer types for which men are at a higher risk of developing and also a number for which they can only be affected. Prostate cancer is one of them. It’s estimated that around 1 in 9 men will develop prostate cancer during their lifetime. However, this is a disease which typically affects older men (around 6 out of 10 diagnoses involve individuals aged 65 or older).
Liver and lung disease
Men tend to drink alcohol and smoke more than women, which is one of the key reasons why they are typically more likely to be affected by liver and lung-related health conditions.
Type 2 diabetes is one of the biggest preventable health concerns in modern society. It’s a condition which can also increase the risk of other medical issues such as erectile dysfunction, heart disease and stroke.
Depression and suicide
According to the World Health Organization, around 800,000 people per year will die as a result of suicide, with males making up a larger proportion of that number than their female counterparts. Men are less likely to discuss or seek help for their health issues in general and this is particularly true of mental health problems.
How to reduce the risk of these major men’s health threats?
Many threats to men’s health can be prevented and personal lifestyle choices play a hugely important role. This article on the Miskawaan Health website goes into detail about several major health issues which affect men and also offer some prevention tips.
Essentially, the key takeaways are:
- Quit smoking
- Abstain from alcohol or reduce consumption
- Exercise regularly
- Eat healthily
- Try and reduce stress
- Talk about personal issues which cause mental distress
- Don’t be afraid to visit a doctor
Of course, even if one follows expert guidance with regards to living a healthy and active life, the risk of developing certain medical conditions can never be completely eradicated. It’s important that awareness around the topic of men’s health continues to be raised throughout the world so that more men can understand the risks that could threaten their lives.
Thanks to the Movember charity and countless other organizations, men are becoming more educated on this matter and many are making positive changes to the way they choose to live.