On average, men die about five years earlier than women and have higher mortality rates from certain cancers and heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These statistics highlight the importance of men talking to their healthcare providers about the preventive medical tests and activities they need to stay healthy.

Men face a higher risk for many serious diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer, and HIV. They also have unique health concerns like prostate cancer. To improve men’s health, raising awareness about preventive screenings and encouraging regular health care for men of all ages is crucial. Promoting healthy behaviors and interventions to reduce smoking and drinking can also help prevent diseases and improve overall health.

June is Men’s Health Month, a national observance dedicated to encouraging boys, men, and their families to make healthy lifestyle choices. This includes getting regular screenings, eating healthy, and exercising. Given that men die, on average, five years earlier than women, men need to take an active role in their health by being aware of preventable conditions and focusing on early detection.

According to the CDC:

  • 13.2% of men ages 18 and over are considered in fair or poor health
  • 40.5% of men ages 20 and over are considered obese
  • 51.9% of men ages 20 and over have hypertension (measured high blood pressure and/or taking antihypertensive medication)

Screenings and Annual Exams

Speak openly with your primary care provider and don’t wait until you are sick to schedule a visit. An annual appointment allows you to discuss any new symptoms or concerns. Make sure to:

Get your prostate health checked. Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in men, and the risk increases with age. Early detection is crucial.

Get your testosterone levels checked.  This hormone peaks during the teenage and young adult years and naturally declines with age. Lower than normal levels can be connected to diabetes, heart disease, and depression.

Get your cholesterol checked. High blood cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Since high cholesterol has no symptoms, regular checkups are essential.

Get your blood pressure checked. More men than women have high blood pressure, but you can lower it with simple healthy habits, including physical activity.

In addition to regular screenings, adopting a healthy lifestyle plays a significant role in preventing many of the health issues men face. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can provide the nutrients needed for optimal health. Limiting processed foods, reducing sugar and salt intake, and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption are also essential steps. Regular physical activity, such as walking, jogging, or strength training, helps maintain a healthy weight, improves cardiovascular health, and boosts mental well-being.

Mental health is another crucial aspect of men’s health that often goes overlooked. Men are less likely than women to seek help for mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and stress. However, addressing mental health is just as important as physical health. Building a support system, talking to a mental health professional, and practicing stress-reducing techniques like mindfulness or yoga can make a significant difference. It’s important to break the stigma around men’s mental health and encourage open conversations about emotional well-being.

Finally, building a strong relationship with your healthcare provider is key to maintaining good health. Regular check-ins with your doctor allow you to stay on top of necessary screenings and vaccinations, discuss any lifestyle changes, and address any new health concerns. Don’t wait until symptoms become severe to seek medical advice. Preventive care is about staying ahead of potential health issues and ensuring a healthier, longer life. This June, take the first step towards better health by scheduling your annual checkup and encouraging the men in your life to do the same. Together, we can improve men’s health and close the longevity gap.

In conclusion, Men’s Health Month is a vital reminder for men to prioritize their health and well-being. By staying informed about preventive screenings, adopting a healthy lifestyle, and addressing mental health concerns, men can significantly reduce their risk of serious diseases and improve their overall quality of life. This June, let’s commit to making health a priority and encouraging the men in our lives to take proactive steps toward better health.

Take action today by scheduling your annual checkup and discussing any health concerns with your provider. Together, we can make a difference and help men live longer, healthier lives. Remember, your health is your greatest asset—take care of it!

a man running on a path with a blue sign