There are celebrations for anything and everything these days like ‘National Dance Like A Chicken Day’ and ‘Lost Sock Memorial Day’. All we need is an excuse to celebrate! So how about channeling our efforts on celebrating something that is meaningful and otherwise largely ignored?
June is the season for Men; it is Men’s Health Month. If you are racking your brains on how to celebrate this, we can offer a few suggestions. Men may not particularly care about cards and flowers, but let’s quietly or publicly acknowledge the important role they play in our lives. A little appreciation goes a long way. We can start by thanking them for all their hard work and sacrifice in providing for their families. Since Father’s Day falls right in the middle of this awareness period, we could give him the best gift of all: the gift of health. We should encourage him to visit a healthcare professional, to eat healthy and to exercise often. And let’s not forget to practice what we preach and set an example for him. That’s one of the only ways to get through to him.
Anchored by a Congressional health education program, Men’s Health Month is celebrated across the country with screenings, health fairs, media appearances, and other health education and outreach activities. Community outreach leaders, churches and healthcare providers will be working to raise awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases among men and boys all throughout the country and around the globe. Men’s Health Month is sponsored by Abbvie, Pfizer, and Men’s Health Network.
With a five-year life-expectancy gap between men and women, it is hardly a secret that men need to pay more attention to their bodies, especially since several things work against them. They tend to smoke and drink more than women. They don’t seek medical help as often as women. In fact, according to Center of Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) women are 100% more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men. But it’s not all their fault, men are taught from an early age to work and play through pain, and that “big boys don’t cry”. This ‘tough and macho’ attitude lingers with them through adulthood causing them to ignore health concerns by ‘pushing through it’. Moreover, too many men define themselves by their work, which can add to stress and consequently deteriorate their health.
There are also health conditions that are specific only to men, such as prostate cancer and low testosterone. Many of the major health risks that men face - like colon cancer or heart disease - can be prevented and treated with early diagnosis. Screening tests can detect diseases early, when they are easier to treat. It’s important to have regular checkups and screenings, and June is a great opportunity to get checked.
Problems generally get worse when ignored, and men are pretty good at ignoring their health. At a recent Dialogue on Men’s Health meeting comprised of national health leaders, the barriers men face in dealing with their health was a point of discussion, and experts in the field agreed that men can be their own worst enemies by not paying attention to health messages. They also shared that men are more likely to go for check-ups when urged to do so by someone they love.
Whether you are a spouse, daughter, son, mother, sister, or a friend, it’s time to step up and make a difference in helping the men you care about live healthy and productive lives. So encourage them to see a healthcare provider in June, or better yet, set the appointment for them yourself. This is a call to action and it shouldn’t be ignored! Let’s do it for the guys!