Life is busy. From the 9 to 5 grind to spending time with family to putting work into the house to the occasional time to relax, men have a lot on their plates. As you navigate the chaos of it all, it’s important not to forget one critical factor — your health.
Most men need to pay more attention to their health. Not only are men more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, like drinking too much alcohol and smoking, they’re also at risk of certain health conditions, like prostate cancer and low testosterone.
Unfortunately, many men don’t take advantage of one of the most effective health resources out there — their primary care provider.
Preventative care, like annual check-ups, routine screenings, and making healthy lifestyle choices, is crucial to living a long and healthy life.
June is Men’s Health Month
, a month to spread awareness about men’s health and preventable health problems. It’s also a time to remember that your well-being isn’t just about you — it impacts your loved ones, too.
Men — here are 5 ways to stay on top of your health this Men’s Health Month (and every month).
1. Make an Appointment with Your Primary Care Provider — and Actually Go.
Just like your car needs tune-ups or your HVAC needs regular maintenance, your body needs to be cared for, too. This starts with your primary care provider (PCP).
Your primary care provider is a one-stop-shop for:
- Preventative care, including determining when you’re due for routine screenings
- Identifying and treating common medical conditions, like high blood pressure or diabetes
- Determining the urgency of medical problems — and directing you to the best place for care, if needed
- Learning about healthy lifestyle choices
What's more, your PCP can also help you identify individual risk factors based on things like family history or lifestyle choices.
Unfortunately, many men don’t take advantage of this important resource. In fact, more than 40% of men in the US admit to only seeing their healthcare provider if they think they have a serious medical condition. And by then, certain health conditions may have progressed much further than they should have.
Your primary care provider is one of your most helpful health resources, but they can’t do anything unless you walk through their door. Make an appointment for your annual check-up, and actually go.
2. Schedule Routine Screening Tests.
There's a common misconception that you’ll know if you have a health problem. Unfortunately, not only is this not true, it’s a dangerous mindset.
Routine screening tests help find diseases early — when they are much easier to treat. They can also identify problems when you aren’t experiencing any symptoms whatsoever, so your provider can begin treating them sooner.
Men need routine screening tests, such as:
- Cholesterol screening (every 5 years or more frequently, depending on risk)
- Blood pressure screening (every 1 to 2 years)
- Colorectal cancer screening, such as a screening colonoscopy every 10 years or an immunochemical fecal occult blood test annually, starting at age 45
- Diabetes risk assessment, (every 3 years for men over 50 with risk factors or men with a body mass index over 30)
- HIV screening (one time, with follow-up tests depending on risk)
Other screening tests may be necessary based on your lifestyle choices, too. For instance, men who smoke may require lung cancer screening.
These routine tests are crucial to monitor and maintain good health. This Men’s Health Month, push past the excuses ("I don’t have time" or "Men don’t complain about medical problems") and get your body the care it needs and deserves.
3. Make Small (but Impactful) Changes to Improve Your Health.
Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t complicated. Minor changes can have major impacts, and it's time to start incorporating some of them into your life.
Ways you can put your health first include:
You don’t need to make all of these changes right away. Instead, focus on one per week or per month. Then, take note of how good you feel after each change, and keep the momentum going.
4. Prioritize your mental health.
Taking care of your health means focusing on your mental health, too. Unfortunately, men are less likely than women to get help for conditions like depression, substance abuse, and stressful life events due to factors like social norms, downplaying symptoms, and being reluctant to talk.
Major mental health conditions that impact men include:
- Bipolar disorder
- Psychosis and schizophrenia
- Eating disorders
What's more, more than four times as many men die by suicide compared to women. This may be due to risk factors like social isolation, substance abuse, genetic predisposition and military-related trauma.
Your mental health is critical. Start by taking an online screening, such as one through Healthy Minds Philly. Then, talk to your healthcare provider, who is trained to support you both mentally and physically. They can direct you to useful resources and help you navigate any mental health concerns.
You can also implement small ways to boost your mental health, like taking a small vacation, taking a walk in nature, committing to technology-free time each day or watching a funny television show.
5. Talk to At Least One Other Man in Your Life About Their Health.
Men — it's time to ditch the stigma around talking about your health and start supporting one another. This Men's Health Month, talk to your brother, father, uncle, son or friend about staying on top of their health.
Tell them that you just had your annual blood pressure screening (and how easy it was), go on a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood together, or simply ask them how they are doing. Whatever you do, let them know that you care about their well-being, and you're there to support them as they take a proactive approach to health.
Plenty of men's health conditions are preventable — but it takes some time and dedication. Staying on top of healthcare appointments, living a healthy lifestyle, and joining together with other men to prioritize health are all effective ways to live a long, healthy and happy life.
Do You Have Questions About Staying Healthy?
Visit Chester County Hospital's Physician Directory
to find a primary care provider or specialist.
Related Information from Chester County Hospital: