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Preventive Care

Focus Turns to Men’s Health in June

With Father’s Day falling in June each year, it seems appropriate to focus on men’s health in June as well.

Men aren’t as healthy as women, statistically speaking. On average, men live five fewer years than women. They’re at higher risk of heart disease, lung cancer and HIV. Men also have to deal with the potential for prostate cancer unlike women. But men don’t escape breast cancer. While rare, one in every 100 breast cancer diagnoses are in men.

What’s the deal, gentlemen?

Man Smiling in a Garden

What the Data Says

Before getting into the “why,” let’s look at the “what.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have the statistics on men’s health. It’s not pretty.

  • 13.2% — Men aged 18 and over in fair or poor health
  • 30.9% — Men aged 18 and over who had five or more drinks on at least one day in the past year
  • 42.4% — Men aged 18 and over who do not meet minimum physical activity guidelines
  • 14.1% — Men aged 18 and over who smoke cigarettes
  • 40.5% — Men aged 20 and over with obesity
  • 51.9% — Men aged 20 and over with high blood pressure
  • 12.3% — Men under 65 without health insurance coverage

Now, the Why

Women have always lived longer than men. It has a lot to do with a combination of biological, social, and behavioral factors.

  • Biological — There are some theories a woman’s X chromosome provides better protection against genetic diseases than a man’s Y chromosome. Estrogen seems to do a better job of protecting against heart disease.
  • Social — Work-related stress is seen as a contributor to men’s vulnerability. More women in the workplace could be closing that gap. Women, however, have larger social networks and supports than men. That’s psychologically helpful.
  • Behavioral — Men are more apt to do risky things from the time they’re boys. They have this daredevil mentality that is sometimes carried through adulthood. Men also tend to be more aggressive and violent. A man is four times more likely to die from homicide or suicide than a woman. Men are also more likely to smoke, abuse alcohol, abuse drugs, eat poorly and not exercise. Men are also more likely to avoid trips to the doctor.
Son and Father Fixing a Bike

Make Basic Changes

The steps men should take to stay healthy are the same steps we should all take to stay healthy. They include:

  • Avoiding all forms of tobacco
  • Eating more fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean proteins, and whole grains
  • Eating less red meat, processed foods, sugary drinks, sweets, salty foods
  • Exercising 30 minutes a day
  • Exercising for strength two to three times a week
  • Stretching two to three times a week
  • Limiting yourself to two drinks a day
  • Reducing stress
  • Avoiding risky behavior
  • Getting regular checkups, including prostate checks, screenings, and immunizations.
  • Protecting your skin from the sun
  • Looking for the joy in life

Men Need Doctors Too

Having a doctor you feel comfortable talking to is important. AltaMed has skilled physicians who speak your language. Use the Find a Doctor tool to locate a doctor near you who speaks your language and get on the road to good health. You can also call (888) 499-9303.

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Focus Turns to Men’s Health in June