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DiversityNursing Blog

Men's Health: A Closer Look

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Jun 08, 2023 @ 10:30 AM

GettyImages-1132421702Men's Health Month is an important observance aimed at raising awareness about the health issues affecting men and encouraging them to take proactive steps towards a healthier lifestyle.

Below are general statistics and facts related to men's health. 

Life Expectancy: On average, men have a shorter life expectancy compared to women. In the United States, the life expectancy for men is around 73 years, compared with women’s, which is about 79, according to CDC data.

Leading Causes of Death: The leading causes of death among men vary by age group. However, the common causes include heart disease, cancer (particularly lung, colorectal, and prostate cancer), accidents, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and diabetes.

Prostate Cancer: Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. It typically affects older men, with the risk increasing with age. Regular screening and early detection are crucial for improving outcomes.

Testicular Cancer: Testicular cancer primarily affects younger men, usually between the ages of 15 and 35. Early detection and treatment have high success rates. Men are encouraged to perform regular self-examinations to check for any unusual lumps or changes.

Mental Health: Men often face unique challenges regarding mental health. Conditions such as depression, anxiety, and suicide rates are higher among men. However, societal stigmas and reluctance to seek help often prevent men from seeking support and treatment.

Heart Disease: Heart disease is a significant concern for men. Risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, poor diet, lack of physical activity, obesity, and family history. Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk.

Obesity and Physical Activity: Obesity rates among men are a growing concern. Maintaining a healthy weight through regular physical activity and a balanced diet can reduce the risk of numerous health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

Smoking and Tobacco Use: Smoking remains a major health risk for men. It increases the likelihood of developing various cancers, heart disease, respiratory conditions, and other health problems. Quitting smoking and avoiding tobacco use is crucial for better overall health.

Sexual Health: Men's sexual health encompasses various aspects, including erectile dysfunction, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and reproductive health. Regular check-ups, safe practices, and open communication with healthcare providers are essential.

Access to Healthcare: Men often face barriers to accessing healthcare, such as a reluctance to seek medical attention, lack of awareness, and limited preventive care. Regular check-ups, health screenings, and early interventions can significantly improve health outcomes.

These statistics and facts can change over time so it's best to consult healthcare professionals for personalized advice and information regarding your health.

Topics: mens health, mens health month

Men’s Health Week: Prevent, detect, treat

Posted by Pat Magrath

Tue, Jun 14, 2016 @ 04:30 PM

reimagining-black-mens-health-418_c0-18-420-262_s885x516-1.jpgThis week is Men’s Health Week and this article serves as a reminder about the importance of men paying attention to their health. As a Nurse, you are in the perfect position to remind your male and female patients to take care of themselves, exercise, eat healthy, listen to their bodies and get help if they notice any persistent changes.

Men’s Health Week is being recognized across the U.S. during the week leading up to and including Father’s Day (June 13-19). And while I have said it before, it bears repeating, this is not just a men’s issue — we all need to be aware and support our men’s (young to old) good health and prevention of health problems. To that end, I am sharing key information in three parts to help spotlight Men’s Health. There are many medical and social factors that impact the physical, social, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing of all our men and boys.

Studies show that culturally women surpass men in asking for help with their health and too, our boys and men have been raised in a culture “to be emotionally restrained, keeping things close to the vest, being in control, independent, competitive and to endure pain.” Research shows that many men only seek medical counsel when under duress from a family member or when their condition has deteriorated to a severe state. This in itself is an issue but add to this, these staggering statistics:

• Men die at much higher rates from the most common forms of cancers that affect both sexes
• Experts agree there is a focus on women’s health with multiple commissions – but the same lags for men with substantial amount of health disparities in men/boy’s health research

The purpose of Men’s Health Week is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among our men and boys. This Part 2 (of 3) spotlights some additional key concerns while underscoring that having an awareness of preventable health problems along with early detection and treatment of chronic illnesses are imperative to improving men’s health. (Part 1 is here.)

Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know: About Men’s Health Part 2

Depression While depression in men is common, they often times do not gain the relief needed as they believe they have to be strong and in control of their emotions at all times. And mental health can also affect our physical health; depression can increase the risk for heart disease and other serious medical problems.

Research shows, too, that when feeling hopeless, helpless, or overwhelmed by despair, men and boys tend to deny it or cover it up by physical pain, reckless behavior, anger, or drinking too much. While a key step to recovery is to understand that there’s no reason to feel ashamed – that is more convoluted for men as a result of our culture.

And unfortunately, depression in our men can be overlooked—they can find it difficult to “open up” to talk about their feelings. This can result in the underlying depression going untreated, which can have serious consequences—men suffering from depression are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. It is important for any man to seek help with depression before feelings of despair become feelings of suicide.

Depression is not a sign of emotional weakness or failing of masculinity. It is a treatable health condition that affects millions of men of all ages and backgrounds, as well as those who care about them—spouses, partners, friends, and family. If you (or someone you know) is dealing with depression – talk honestly with a friend, loved one, or doctor about what’s going on in your mind as well as your body. Once correctly diagnosed, there is plenty you can do to successfully treat and manage depression.

Connecting and Isolation: I am currently reading a book by therapist, psychiatrist Dr. Rob Garfield (2015), titled: “Breaking the Male Code: Unlocking the Power of Friendship” about the “connecting” breakthroughs and valuable benefits from men that had personally felt disconnected – and an insightful introspect of what, as a culture, we reinforce in our men “boy code” – “guy code.”

Research shows men may have as many friendships as women have but the quality is often very different. If a guy has a good friend, he may see them once every 3 to 5 years. Social relationships and connection for men are equally vital to men’s wellbeing, as to women’s. Loneliness can send both men and women down a path toward bad health, and even more intense loneliness, studies have shown. We want to encourage healthy connections and examine our views and related behaviors on “guy codes.”

Decrease alcohol use According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men are more likely than women to drink excessively: 58% report drinking alcohol in the last 30 days and 23% report binge drinking 5 times a month (equates to 8 drinks). In addition to the numerous illnesses that chronic heavy alcohol use increases the risk for—liver disease, heart problems, dementia, cancer—being intoxicated has also been shown to elevate the risk for aggression, accidents, injuries, and deaths.

The Federal Dietary Guidelines on Alcohol Consumption state the following regarding drinking in moderation: For men 65 years of age and younger, no more than two drinks per day and for men who are older than 65 years, no more than one drink a day. They even recommend that some should not drink alcoholic beverages at all including those who cannot restrict their drinking to moderate levels; plan to drive or operate machinery; are taking prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol; have certain medical conditions; and are recovering from alcoholism.

According to a statement from an editor of American Journal of Men’s Health, “facts are that men put their health last and it has been researched to find that most men’s thinking is, if they can live up to their roles in society, then they’re healthy.” From infancy to old age, women are simply healthier than men. Out of the 15 leading causes of death, men lead women in all of them except Alzheimer’s disease, which many men don’t live long enough to develop.

Our men deserve better – their health needs all our attention, on every front — at home; in our communities; and the national level (as we advance more research as well as commission additional understandings to break through the health gap). Let’s rally to help make a difference!!

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Topics: mens health

'Movember': Mustaches for Men's Health!

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Nov 05, 2014 @ 12:18 PM

By Denise Whitaker

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'Movember' is men's health awareness month.  It's a global initiative that's now gaining steam and raising millions to help find cures for men's cancers and other health issues. 

Originally started by two mates in Australia more than 10 years ago, it's grown from 30 growing mustaches that first year, to more than 4 million in almost two dozen countries.

The original rules still exist, right along with the concept, spelled out by the announcer in a Movember YouTube video:  "It's a reality check on your health and a responsibility to take action."

The concept is easy: Men, especially those who don't normally grow facial hair, let their mustaches grow all month long.  The more peach fuzz, the better!

"Honestly, it looks terrible for the first several weeks and for some individuals it always looks terrible," says Seattle's Dr. Peter Nelson. "But the point that we get across is that you want people to ask you 'why are you doing this?' "

It's a conversation starter, to get men talking about their health, specifically prostate and testicular cancer plus mental health.

Men who join the movement are called Mo Bros and work to raise money to combat these issues.

"In general, men don't discuss their health issues," Dr. Nelson said.

Dr. Nelson is part of a locally growing team of Mo Bros called MoDawgs, plus he's a prostate cancer researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Last year, the Movember foundation awarded his team a $1.4 million grant to develop strategies to treat advanced prostate cancer. 

"Advanced prostate cancer unfortunately is really a deadly disease in which we have no cure," Nelson said. "Once prostate cancer spread out of the prostate an into bones another sites, we can often temporize it for years by cutting off the fuel supply which is testosterone but eventually these cancers all resist."

And so he explained that his team developed several interesting targets and that they're now developing drugs to block to improve treatment.  

The project is moving into the second of its 3 years of funding. 

And there are many such studies being funded in the United States through the Movember movement. Each country keeps all of the money it's raised.  To date, the United States has raised $559 million, since 2003, and some 770 men's health projects have been funded. 

So back to that Movember YouTube video, it ends with words on the screen:  "Makers, Thinkers, Growers, Doers; changing the face of men's health."

Are you willing to join the fight?



Topics: health, disease, medical, cancer, mens health, no shave november, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, cancer research

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