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A Month for Men: Take Time to Look at Health Challenges

By Martha Michael

Men's Health Month

Through streaming and TV ads there are times when a sports legend with a soft drink or an actor behind the wheel are clearly focusing on men. But while advertisers target men’s “pain points” to attract them to products, the physical aches and pains of the male population also need to take center stage.

The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to meet the need for heightened awareness and inspire men to seek testing for early detection and provide more effective treatment programs.

Health Conditions Putting Men at Risk

If you created a list of top challenges to men’s health, there are obvious diseases to include, such as prostate and testicular cancer. And because heart problems affect both sexes in high numbers, it’s predictably on both the list of women’s health risks and common ailments for men.

According to an article on, there are other conditions that affect men at a higher rate than you might expect:

  • Skin cancer - Men account for two-thirds of deaths from melanoma and 60 percent of them are Caucasian males who are older than 50. Wear sunblock when you go outside or protect your skin by wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants. Avoid UV light sources and don’t seek out tanning services.
  • Flu and pneumonia - The death rate from influenza and pneumococcal infection is 25 percent higher among men than women. Most at risk are men with COPD, congestive heart failure, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, AIDS, or cancer. The American Lung Association recommends vaccination.
  • Accidents - Another leading cause of death for men is unintentional injury. Falls and collisions sometimes result in traumatic brain injuries and some of the more common mishaps involve fireworks or drowning. Deaths from car accidents are twice as likely among males than females and more than 90 percent of occupational injuries are reported by men.
  • Liver disease - Alcohol and tobacco use among men is higher than it is among women, and these behaviors contribute to liver disease. The organ is needed for food digestion and to protect your body from toxic substances. Conditions affecting the liver include bile duct cancer, liver cancer, and cirrhosis.
  • HIV/AIDS - Approximately 80 percent of patients with the AIDS virus are men. The greatest number of new infections occur among the African American population.

Health Treatment

There are many factors leading to these health outcomes, including poor health education, high-risk workplaces, and personal lifestyle choices, as well as a simple lack of awareness. The combined efforts of individuals, public policymakers, and members of the media can reduce the number of lives lost to preventable diseases.

In addition to a Congressional health education program, throughout the month of June communities hold health fairs and offer screenings and education to promote wellness for men. Outreach can lead to greater access to treatment and inspire healthier habits.

Contributing to better health in men benefits the whole family, according to the website for District Health Department #10 in Michigan. The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to send a message to males of all ages to eat healthy, exercise regularly, and have routine checkups.

The agency’s suggestions include:

  • Increase activity - Build a fitness program aiming for 2 1/2 hours of physical activity per week. Work in the garden or add a sport to your range of hobbies. Choosing activities you enjoy will increase your chances of staying motivated.
  • Eat a balanced diet - Reduce your trips to the drive-thru and add servings of fruit and vegetables to your meals. Avoid sugar, salt, and fats, and eat a variety of foods.
  • Minimize risks - Quit smoking tobacco products and don’t neglect your routine screenings. Early detection through such tests as cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels increase your chance of survival.

Prevention is always a good idea, and you can begin by resisting the urge to grab a soda championed by your favorite sports star. You don’t need their advice for what to wear, drive, or insure. But feel free to turn up the volume if they’re promoting healthy food, chiropractic care, or an effective fitness program.

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