There’s a lot more to Movember

 

“Time and health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted.”

– Denis Waitley

 

In May of 1994, President Bill Clinton signed Senate Joint Resolution 179 (SJR 179) to establish a National Men’s Health Week. And for good reason. At the time, the life expectancy for men was 7 years less than that for women, and the mortality rate for prostate cancer was nearly double the mortality rate of breast cancer. But the issues related to men’s health went much deeper than that.

Now, nearly 25 years later, we celebrate “Movember” to raise awareness of men’s health issues, in particular prostate cancer. But today, just as in 1994, men’s health goes beyond prostate cancer. So, let’s talk about some of the additional health issues that men face.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer of men (and women, for that matter). More than 39 million men in the US have cardiovascular disease, and more than 350,000 of them die each year. The risk of CVD can be reduced with a healthy diet and regular exercise, along with regular screenings for high blood pressure and diabetes.

Mental health is an unpredictable and perhaps surprising men’s health issue. While women are more likely to experience a mental health disorder, men are far less likely than women to seek help from a doctor. Speak up and Speak out.

Men with diabetes are more than twice as likely to die from a heart attack as men without diabetes. Regular screening for men over the age of 45 is very important, especially for those who are overweight or have already been diagnosed with high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Additionally, a diet with less sugar and more vegetables is recommended.

Each year, more than 800,000 men receive a new diagnosis of cancer. In fact, cancer will affect 1 out of 2 men over the course of their lifetime. While prostate, lung, and colorectal cancer are the 3 most common types of cancer among men, testicular cancer is the most common among men between the ages of 15 and 35. Early screening and detection is paramount for men of all ages.

Lastly, and perhaps the least comfortable men’s health issue to talk about, is sexual dysfunction. Yet nearly half of all men over the age of 40 experience some form of sexual dysfunction. Causes can be physical, psychological, or both. And while the disorder is very common, most men take years before talking to their doctor and finding a solution.

As you can see, Movember is about much more than prostate cancer. There are many health issues that men of all ages face. Understanding the risks and recognizing the paths to prevention are two giant steps to maintaining and appreciating your health that reach far beyond the month of November.