In 1920, women lived one year longer than men. Now, men die almost five years earlier than women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, commonly known as the CDC, men die at higher rates than women from nine of the top 10 causes of death, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, suicide and injuries.
Men are often called the stronger sex, with women being the weaker sex, but when it comes to health statistics, men might actually be the weaker sex, even from conception.
Here are some interesting facts from the CDC and Men’s Health Network:
One hundred and fifteen males are conceived for every 100 females.
The male fetus is at greater risk of miscarriage and stillbirth.
Three-fifths of SIDS victims are boys.
Twenty-five percent more newborn males die than female newborns.
By the age of 100, women outnumber men eight to one.
Men have fewer infection-fighting T-cells than women and are thought to have weaker immune systems than women.
Testosterone is linked to elevations in the bad LDL cholesterol and declines in the good HDL cholesterol.
Men suffer hearing loss at twice the rate as women.
Depression in men is often overlooked; yet, males are nearly five times more likely to commit suicide.
Detecting symptoms of certain health conditions early, when they are more easily treatable, is a critical factor in helping men stay healthy. That’s why getting all your doctor-recommended health screenings is the kind of to-do list no man should ignore.
Below is information about 10 important health screenings for men and when:
1. Blood Cholesterol: Age 35 and older should get cholesterol levels checked yearly. Get checked beginning at age 20 if you: use tobacco; are overweight or obese; have a relative who had a heart attack before age of 50; have diabetes, high blood pressure or a history of heart disease.
2. Blood Pressure: Age 35 and older should have blood pressure checked yearly. Men with other cardiovascular risk factors should check their blood pressure more frequently. High blood pressure is the biggest risk for heart disease and a significant risk for other serious health conditions.
3. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: Age 65 and older who have ever smoked tobacco should get screened for an abdominal aortic aneurysm (bulging of the aorta in the belly area). The major risk of this aortic bulging is a rupture that can cause severe or fatal internal bleeding.
4. Colon Cancer: Age 50 and older should get screened for colorectal (colon or rectal) cancer. Those with a family history of colorectal cancer should get screened even sooner.
5. Depression: Don’t ignore your mental health. An estimated six million men suffer from depression each year and many of these men are under-diagnosed and under-treated. Get screened for depression if you have experienced any of the following symptoms for more than two weeks:
Significant change in appetite or sleeping patterns.
Loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities.
Feeling hopeless, worthless, restless, irritable, sad or anxious.
Decreased energy, motivation.
Inappropriate feelings of guilt.
Difficulty concentrating or thinking.
If having recurring thoughts of death or suicide, seek treatment immediately.
6. Diabetes: Men who have high blood pressure or take medication to control their high blood pressure should get screened for diabetes (high blood sugar). If symptoms of persistently severe thirst, frequent urination, unexpected weight loss, increased hunger and tingling in the hands or feet emerge, get tested.
7. Hepatitis C Virus: Get tested if born between 1945 and 1965; born to a mother with the virus; needs dialysis for kidney failure; received a blood transfusion before 1992; received blood clotting factors before 1987; or ever injected drugs. Hepatitis C is the number one cause of liver cancer in the U.S.
8. HIV: All men 65 or younger, regardless of perceived risks, should get screened for HIV.
9. Obesity: A body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy, a BMI above 25 is overweight and a BMI greater than 30 is obese. BMI can be determined by measuring waist circumference; using a caliper to measure skinfold thickness above the hip and estimate body fat percentage; or bio-electric impedance device that uses a small bit of electricity through the body to measure body fat percentage.
10. Prostate Cancer: Age 50 and older should be screened every five years or as recommended based on family history and risks. Screening typically involves one or both of following two tests:
Digital rectal examination (DRE) – The physician inserts a finger into the rectum to feel whether the prostate gland is enlarged or has any lumps.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test – The PSA test measures the blood level of a certain protein that is produced by the prostate gland, and can be elevated in men with prostate cancer.
June is Men’s Health Month, which aims to heighten awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment. Don’t delay – make an appointment with your healthcare provider today! Be healthy. Be strong. Be wise. Be well. FBN
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Located on McMillian Mesa, The Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Arizona is the only rehabilitation hospital in the region, serving all of Northern Arizona. The 40-bed rehabilitation hospital provides intensive rehabilitation services to people recovering from disabling diseases or injuries, such as strokes, brain, spinal cord and orthopedic injuries. For more information, visit rhna.ernesthealth.com or call 928-774-7070. Follow us on Facebook at Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Arizona.
By Richard Holt, D.O.
Richard Holt, D.O., is the medical director at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Arizona. Dr. Holt specializes in helping patients recover from injury or disease and live the highest quality of life possible.