June is Men’s Health Month, a campaign encouraging men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury.
Research shows that men tend to see their doctors less often than women do, and are more likely to wait until a health problem is serious before seeking help. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), men, on average, die almost five years earlier than women. Heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, stroke, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes, and suicide are the leading causes of death for men.
Checkups and Screening
The Men’s Health Network recommends regular checkups and age-appropriate screenings for men, in consultation with their healthcare providers. Men with a family history of disease or who are members of a high risk group may benefit from early or more frequent screenings. Guidelines include:
- Regular physical exams that include blood pressure screening, EKG, and blood tests and urinalysis to screen for various diseases
- Screening for colorectal health, including sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy
- Vaccinations including tetanus booster, yearly flu shots, and for older men, the shingles vaccine. Gay and bisexual men should talk to their doctor about recommended vaccines to protect against HPV, and Hepatitis A and B.
- Screening for sexually transmitted diseases
Men’s emotional health is also important. While depression is common in both sexes, it often goes unrecognized and untreated in men. Symptoms may include irritability, sadness and loss of interest in activities one previously enjoyed, alcohol and drug abuse, risky behavior, and changes in eating and sleeping habits.