You At Your Best

August 2020 • Men's Health

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BY KAReN RICe YOu At YOuR Best Among the 15 top causes of death, men lead women in all of them, except for Alzheimer's disease. Why do women outlive men? In general, most men need to pay more attention to their health. According to the National Institutes of Health, compared to women, men are more likely to: • Smoke and drink • Make unhealthy or risky choices • Put off regular checkups and medical care The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates the leading causes of death for men include heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries (falls, fire and impaired driving), and stroke. Many of the major health risks that men face - like cancer or heart disease - can be prevented and treated with early diagnosis and lifestyle changes. Cardiovascular disease The American Heart Association says more than one in three adult men have a form of cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure is a major concern and stroke affects more than three million men. Changing one's diet, exercising and getting routine health examinations can go a long way toward preventing the onset of heart disease. "Talk to the men in your life about how they can manage any heart disease risk factors that they may have," says Cyd King, communications director for the American Heart Association in Northwest Arkansas. "Simple changes, such as taking medication as prescribed, eating healthy, getting regular exercise and quitting smoking can make a big difference in improving their health. Help them make a plan to reduce heart disease risk factors. When men take care of their heart health, they are taking care of their families too. Remind them that strong men put their health first." Liver disease High levels of alcohol and tobacco use among men can put them at a risk for diseases of the liver, such as cirrhosis and alcoholic liver disease. Globally, cirrhosis caused more than 1.3 million deaths in 2017, two-thirds of which were men. And experts at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine say hepatitis B and excessive use of alcohol are notoriously high in men, contributing to liver issues. In addition, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is especially prevalent among obese individuals, can contribute to cirrhosis. Prostate cancer and testicular cancer Testicular cancer and prostate cancer are the two most common cancers among American men. If prostate cancer is detected early, 98 percent of men can survive longer than five years. Those diagnosed early for testicular cancer have a 95 percent survival rate. If something doesn't feel right during self-examinations or if men recognize symptoms like urinary leakage, pain or urgency, they should visit their physicians immediately. Respiratory diseases The American Lung Association says more men are now being diagnosed with lung cancer than in years past. Smoking remains the leading cause of lung cancer. In Arkansas, male smokers exceed their female counterparts, and their use of other nicotine products like smokeless tobacco and cigars is higher. This puts them at greater risk for respiratory diseases and cancer—lung cancer especially. Depression and suicide The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that at least six million men in the United States suffer from depressive disorders, including suicidal thoughts, each year. Men may exhibit different symptoms of depression, such as fatigue and irritability, than women. Although more women are likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to die by suicide. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says that, in 2017, men died by suicide 3.5 times more often than women. The rate of suicide is highest among middle-aged white men. While suicide has been magnified by the high- profile suicides of celebrities like television host Anthony Bourdain, singers Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell there is still work to be done in regard to raising awareness about suicide. While rates of depression are higher among women than men, one reason why suicide may be higher for men is because "boys don't cry" is a mantra that has been embedded from youth. A reluctance to express and communicate emotion may be why many men choose life-ending measures instead of showing perceived emotional weakness and seeking help. Anyone who needs help is urged to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Unintentional injuries Risky behaviors, such as driving recklessly, can lead to injuries and accidents. In 2016, unintentional injuries were the third most common cause of death in men above the age of 20, according to the CDC. Taking charge Men need to assess their risks for various medical conditions, pay more attention to their lifestyles and take charge of their health. Here are some ways to do it: • Eat healthy and get active. • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation. • Quit smoking. • Know your family's health history. • See a doctor for regular screenings and checkups even if you feel healthy. first" "Strong men Put theIR heAlth 6 | YOu At YOuR Best | WWW.NWADg.COM/YOuAtYOuRBest August - MeN's HeAltH | suNDAY, JulY 26, 2020

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