Wednesday, June 2, 2021
CMO Message - Men's Health
The health disparities that men face today are often under-recognized and we must raise awareness of these issues so they can be addressed appropriately. The greatest threats to men’s health are heart disease, cancer and unintentional injuries or accidents. The good news is that these leading causes of death are also highly preventable.
More than half of men aged 20 and older have hypertension, also known as the “silent killer.” Hypertension is one of the most common causes of heart disease and stroke. Unfortunately, this condition usually does not cause any symptoms unless it is severe and often goes undiagnosed for years. During this time, elevated blood pressure harms blood vessels and damages critical organs. Since blood pressure checks are part of nearly every visit with your healthcare provider, hypertension is easily diagnosed and can be managed effectively once detected.
In addition, men are more likely than women to smoke cigarettes and cigars and use smokeless tobacco. The toxic chemicals in tobacco harm every part of the body and lead to an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, erectile dysfunction and infertility from damage to DNA in sperm. There is no amount of tobacco use that’s considered safe. For people who use tobacco, quitting is the most important thing they can do to improve their health.
Alcohol use is also more common among men than women. Men account for most deaths from excessive alcohol and are twice as likely to binge drink compared to women. As a result, cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver and colon—which are all related to alcohol consumption—are more common in men.
While there might still be a stigma around discussing mental health, emotional well-being is especially important for men. Men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women, and they account for 4 out of 5 suicides in the U.S. Risk for suicide attempts is even greater for gay or bisexual men. Poor mental health can also lead to impulsivity, substance abuse and risky behaviors that put men at greater risk of deadly accidents and injuries.
Avoiding substances such as tobacco and excessive alcohol, getting regular physical exams and seeking mental health support can make a massive impact on men’s health. If you or someone you love hasn’t seen a provider in the last year, please encourage them to call their doctor or our Health & Wellness Centers to make an appointment today.
- Rosemary Ku, MD/MBA/MPA