With ‘Men’s Health Week’ fast approaching, now is as good a time as any to put the spotlight on this important issue and explore the difficulties that many men have to deal in terms of their physical and mental well-being.
For those keen to learn more about Men’s Health Week and the aim of this annual event, the Men’s Health Forum website is a good place to start.
This awareness event takes place each year during the week leading up to Father’s Day, with Father’s Day itself being the last day of the campaign. So this year, Men’s Health Week will begin on 14th June 2021 and conclude on Sunday 21st June.
Essentially, the aim of this event is to raise awareness for health issues that disproportionately affect men. This includes helping to educate people on physical health conditions that either only affect men or are of particular concern to the male population. The campaign also seeks to increase awareness of mental health issues that many men may be dealing with. The aim here is to encourage those affected to speak to someone and seek help if they feel they are struggling mentally with any aspect of their own life.
This is extremely important, as research suggests that men are less likely to talk about their problems and seek professional help for their mental health concerns, compared with women.
So what are the main health issues that affect men? He we explore the topic in more detail.
Men’s Health Conditions
There are certain medical conditions which only affect men, such as prostate cancer and testicular cancer. Additionally, there are other conditions which affect both males and females but are more prevalent amongst the male population or disproportionally affect men in a more negative way.
This useful blog post by Miskawaan Health looks at 7 major health threats which are of particular concern to men.
Below is a summary of these important points.
Men are typically more likely to drink excessive amounts of alcohol compared with women and this is the one of the leading causes of liver disease throughout the world today.
According to statistics, men are twice as likely to die from cirrhosis of the liver and chronic liver disease compared with women.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major health concern for both men and women, in fact, it’s the leading cause of death worldwide.
Typically men will develop CVD earlier on in their life compared to women (7-10 years earlier on average).
Another condition which affects both women and men is lung disease. However, men are more likely to smoke than women and smoking is the leading cause of this particular medical condition.
Males are also more likely to engage in risky work activities that expose them to dangerous chemicals – another major cause of lung disease.
It’s estimated that around 15% of men will develop lung cancer during some point of their lives, with approximately 200,000 new cases each year being recorded.
Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic disease which is becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the world. Again, this is a condition which can affect both men and women, however males are statistically more likely to develop the disease.
Some researchers believe that the reason for this is that men can develop it with a lower BMI than women – which means males can gain less weight and still be at risk of type 2 diabetes than their female counterparts.
Male Mental Health
As mentioned previously, men are less likely to open up about their mental health struggles and seek help than women.
Suicide among men, particularly those under the age of 50, is a huge issue. Some estimates suggest that suicide is even the leading cause of death amongst males in this age group (below 50).
This is a startling statistic. It’s still unknown what effect the worldwide COVID 19 pandemic will have on suicide rates, but it’s clear that many of the most vulnerable in society have been disproportionally affected, both physically and mentally.
What We Can Do
The upcoming ‘Men’s Health Week’ is a great opportunity to educate yourself on this topic. If you are a male, it is certainly advised to learn about the medical conditions that may be of particular concern to you and to take steps to lead a more healthy life in an attempt to decrease your own personal risk of developing things such as liver disease and type 2 diabetes.
Taking time to exercise more, eat healthier food and cut down on alcohol consumption can certainly help reduce the risk of many diseases. Giving up smoking is also a no brainier.
Being more physically healthy can also do wonders for an individual’s mental health state, but it’s also important to realise that it’s ok to talk to others if you are suffering from prolonged negative thoughts, depression or any other mental health issues.