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Men's Health Month & Movember: Raising The Profile Of Men's Health One Stache At A Time

Medically reviewed on Nov 09, 2016 by C. Fookes, BPharm

Dedicating Time To Improving the Health of Men

On the 31st of May, 1994, President Clinton signed the Senate Joint Resolution 179 (SJR 179) bill, thereby establishing National Men’s Health Week.

There was good reason for passing this bill. At the time, men lived an average of seven years less than women, despite significant advances in the last few decades in medical technology and research. In the past five years, the death rate from prostate cancer had grown to almost double the death rate from breast cancer, with nearly one-third of men dying from the disease.

Both medical experts and government officials recognized the need for men to become better aware of the importance of early detection of conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cancers of the testicles, lung, and colon.

Significant gender gaps also existed in several lifestyle factors, for example, men were seven times more likely than women to be arrested for drunk driving and three times as likely to be alcoholics; and women visited the doctor 150 percent as often as men.

It was time to right this wrong.

Is your Mo On The Go For Movember?

The Movember Foundation is a global foundation committed to changing the face of men’s health. They achieve this by challenging men to grow a moustache during November and to spark conversation and raise funds specifically for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health problems.

From humble beginnings in 2003 when in Melbourne, Australia 30 men grew moustaches, to now, Movember has raised over $715 million and has funded more than 800 programs in over 21 countries saving and improving lives of men affected by prostate or testicular cancers or mental health problems.

How Do I Get Involved?

Men and women sign up online at Movember.com to grow or support only the moustache. Men start November 1 clean-shaven and grow their moustache for 30 days, getting friends, family and colleagues to donate to their moustache-growing efforts.

Many celebrities from around the world have previously supported the cause. In the US, celebrity mo bros and sistas include Christopher Waltz, Jessica Alba and Sammy Watkins. Some famous UK names include Bear Grylls, Damian Lewis and the Stoke City football team. You can donate to them or join their team. Check out more about Mo Ambassadors at Movember.com

June Is Also A Month For Men

Not only is the whole of June now designated Men's Health Month, June 12-18th 2017 is also International Men's Health Week. This is the time to take advantage of free screenings, health fairs, and other health education and outreach activities, so make sure you stick it in your calendar now. Maybe you could even organize an event for your own community or give your father/son/uncle/grandpa/brother/significant other.... or even yourself, a doctors appointment as a free gift.

The Friday before Father's Day is Wear Blue Friday a day where you can get together with your work colleagues and wear blue to show your support for improving the health of men.

Significant Men's Health Issues

While life expectancy and cancer death rates for men have improved significantly since 1994, there is still a way to go to close the gap between men and women.

Six of the most significant health issues affecting men today include:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Prostate Health
  • Mental Health
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Sexual and reproductive health.

More information on these and other important health topics such as eye health, bowel disease, dental health, and respiratory health can be found on the Men's Health Resource Center website.

Cardiovascular Disease: Keeping The Number One Killer At Bay

Cardiovascular disease is a general term used to refer to any type of condition that affects the heart and blood vessels, so includes conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart failure, arrhythmia, atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.

It is the number one killer of men....and women for that matter too. More than 39 million men in America have cardiovascular disease, and every year just under 500,000 of them die as a result.

A healthy diet and plenty of exercise can make a huge difference to your cardiovascular health. Regular screening for high blood pressure and diabetes are also important, as both these conditions often have no symptoms initially.

Prostate Troubles

The prostate is a small gland, approximately the size of a walnut, that surrounds the neck of the bladder in males and contributes a fluid component of semen. In many men, the prostate enlarges with age. By the time a man is 40 it may be the size of an apricot. By the time he is 60, it may be more the size of a lemon.

Because the prostate surrounds the urethra - the tube that carries urine through the penis, the more enlarged a prostate is, the more it restricts urine flow. Most men do not develop symptoms until they are over the age of 50. This condition is called benign (noncancerous) prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, and eventually affects eight out of every 10 men. Although it cannot be prevented, effective treatments are available.

For men under 50, proctitis (an inflammation of the prostate) is the most common problem. It is usually caused by an infection and symptoms include frequent and painful urination.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer; more than 2.8 million American men are currently living with prostate cancer. Typically a slow growing cancer, most men eventually die from other causes, rather than the cancer. With early detection, most cases of prostate cancer can be effectively treated. Your risk of developing prostate cancer can be reduced by eating a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, not smoking, keeping physically active, maintaining a healthy weight and seeing your doctor regularly for a regular checkup!

Mental Health

Nobody is immune from developing poor mental health. While certain disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder tend to run in families; the loss of a job, divorce or a breakup, bankruptcy, the death of a loved one, or military service can all tip the balance from being able to cope with everyday life to not coping.

Men are also two-thirds less likely than women to see a doctor or reach out and tell somebody how they are feeling. Some men don't recognize that symptoms such as chronic pain or digestive problems could actually be a sign of depression, anxiety, or stress.

Other men may suspect they have a problem but choose to suffer in silence. Asking for help is not a failing, yet only 2 in every 5 people experiencing a mood, anxiety or substance use disorder seek assistance in the first year of developing symptoms. If you have been experiencing symptoms such as a low mood, sadness, or agitation for more than two weeks, or don't seem to be able to enjoy life like you use to, see your doctor. Untreated mental health conditions can end up affecting relationships with your partner, family, friends, children, and work colleagues. If you ever feel like life is not worth living anymore call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Most mental health problems are easily resolved with the right diagnosis and treatment.

The Deadly Consequences Of Diabetes

Diabetes is a serious condition and the result of the body not creating enough insulin to keep blood sugar (also called glucose) levels within their normal range. Insulin is vital in order for cells to convert blood sugar into energy.

Type one diabetes is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks its own insulin-producing cells. It is more likely to develop in children and teenagers, often following an infection, and injectable insulin is usually always needed.

Type two diabetes is more likely to develop as a result of poor dietary choices and weight gain in adults; however, obese children are also at risk. In the early stages, most people are managed with oral medications; however, as the disease progresses, injectable insulin may be needed.

Having diabetes increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, foot problems and amputation. Men with diabetes are more than twice as likely to die from a heart attack than men without. Early symptoms may include excessive thirst and urination; however, sometimes symptoms are so mild they go unnoticed. Screening for diabetes is important from the age of 45; earlier if you are overweight or have high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

Reduce your risk of diabetes by limiting your sugar intake and eating more wholegrain foods and vegetables, being more active, losing weight, limiting alcohol and stopping smoking.

Beating The Big C

Cancer is common, affecting 1 in 2 men over the course of their lifetime. Every year more than 300,000 men die from the disease, and over 700,000 new diagnoses are made. Early detection of cancer improves treatment success and risk can be reduced by not smoking, eating more vegetables and whole grains, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol intake and reducing time in the sun.

Prostate, lung and colorectal cancer are the three most common cancers among men. Testicular cancer is relatively uncommon; a man’s lifetime chance of getting it is about 1 in 263. However, it is the most common cancer affecting men between the ages of 15 and 35. Fortunately, in most cases it can be treated and usually cured, especially when it is found early. The most common symptom is a painless lump on or in a testicle; sometimes swelling can occur.

Breast cancer in men is also rare, with a lifetime risk of 1:1000. Risk is greater in men who are overweight, with a family history of male breast cancer, with an excessive alcohol intake, liver disease, or in those prescribed hormonal medications or exposed to estrogens in the environment.

Sexual Dysfunction and Infertility

Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects almost half of all men over the age of 40.

Causes can be psychological or physical, or a mixture of both. One humiliating sexual experience may be enough to blow a man's confidence out of the water, leading to feelings of anxiety every time he attempts to have sex. Marital or relationship problems can also have an impact, as can work-related stress and anxiety, and mental health issues such as depression.

Physical causes include high blood pressure and a narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), stroke or nerve damage from diabetes or surgery, smoking, alcoholism, low testosterone levels and some prescription medications (for example antidepressants, heart medications).

Some men take years to see a doctor, but ED is treatable and effective treatments include Cialis, Levitra, Stendra and Viagra. Choose a doctor that specializes in men's health if you are uncomfortable talking about ED or other sexual health related issues with your regular family doctor.

The rise in divorce rates has seen a corresponding rise in the number of men starting a new relationship later in life, and a rise in the rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in middle aged and older people. Always use a condom with a new partner.

Finished: Men's Health Month And Movember: Raising The Profile Of Men's Health One Stache At A Time

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