Havre, Montana – Anchored by a Congressional health education program, June is National Men’s Health Month. It is no coincidence that it encompasses Father’s Day. Although there are numerous awareness months and weeks, Men’s Health Month should strike a chord with all of us. In 1920, women lived, on average, one year longer than men. Now, men, on average die almost five years earlier than women.
The statistics available on men’s health issues is alarming. David Gremillion, of the Men’s Health Network (MHN), states, “There is a silent health crisis in America…it’s a fact that, on average, American men live sicker and die younger than American women.” According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), men die at higher rates of the top 10 causes of death, including heart disease, cancer and stroke, and have an average life expectancy at birth of only 75.3 years as opposed to a woman’s 80.4 years. And yet, men are half as likely as women to visit their doctor annually for a check-up or preventive services.”
The good news is that men can take steps to increase their health defenses. Regular check-ups and age-appropriate screenings are a great way to begin this process. Patients at Northern Montana Health Care (NMHC) typically see one of the Internal Medicine or Family Medicine Providers as their Primary Care Provider.
Terence Hankins, DO, an Internal Medicine Provider at NMHC remarks, “Men tend to put their own well-being on the back burner. They maintain their household appliances, cars, lawn motors, etc. But they don’t pay attention to what their bodies may be telling them. Men’s Health Month is a great way to remind men that they need to take ownership of their health and well-being. Dads should use Father’s Day as a way to remind themselves of how important they are to their families, and how important it is to stay healthy.”
A great place for men to start planning for their health would be to take a good look at their current weight and general fitness level. Adding exercise; be it on a treadmill in a gym’ or tossing the football in the yard; is important. Regular exercise is great not only for maintaining a healthy weight, but also for improving cardiovascular health. Eating a well-balanced diet, low in saturated fats, can help lower cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar levels. A Primary Care Provider can work with their male patients to structure a plan for healthier living.
“Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.” adds Dr. Hankins. “So, do it for yourself and for those who count on you.”