mens health

It’s National Men’s Health Month; Learn How to Stay Healthy

According to Harvard University, the average man pays less attention to his health than the average woman. Men are more likely to drink alcohol, use tobacco and make risky decisions, and they’re less likely to regularly visit a primary care provider. June is Men’s Health Month, so we’re exploring common health issues that all men should have on their radar.

Cardiovascular health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States. More than half of all men have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, and one in three men have some form of cardiovascular disease.

“Half of men who die suddenly from coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms, which should be a wake-up call to men everywhere,” said Steven W. Graeca, DO, a board-certified internal medicine physician with Penn Highlands Internal Medicine in DuBois.

The biggest risk factors for heart disease include diabetes, being overweight, eating an unhealthy diet, not getting adequate exercise and excessive alcohol use. Another risk factor that isn’t widely known is erectile dysfunction. Erectile problems can serve as an early warning sign. Men in their 40s who have no other risk factors but experience some erectile problems have an 80% risk of developing heart problems within 10 years.

Skin cancer

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Men are more likely to die from melanoma than women, and it is more than 20 times more common in whites than in African Americans. While the average age of a melanoma diagnosis is 65, it is prevalent in every age group, and it’s not uncommon among people younger than 30.

“There are many commonsense things you can do to reduce your risk for skin cancer,” said Dr. Graeca. “Use sunscreen, wear hats with brims and avoid tanning beds and other sources of UV light.”

Influenza and pneumonia

Here’s a statistic that might surprise you: Influenza and pneumonia are among the top 10 causes of death in the U.S., and men are 25% more likely to die from influenza and pneumonia than women.

“Influenza is a common cause of pneumonia and getting your flu shot is the best thing you can do to reduce your risk of getting the flu,” said Dr. Graeca.

Today, most children receive a pneumococcal vaccination as part of their immunization schedule, but older adults may have never received the vaccination.

“If you weren’t vaccinated as a child, talk to your primary care provider about whether vaccination is right for you,” said Dr. Graeca. “And be sure to schedule an annual exam every year. Many of the leading health threats for men can be prevented, and that starts by visiting your provider.”

Penn Highlands Healthcare offers comprehensive care for men’s health throughout the region. Providers are accepting new patients so that you can begin the journey of developing a relationship focused on you and your health. For more information or to find a provider near you, visit www.phhealthcare.org/doctor.