What do we know about men's health? Well, we know men don't like going to the doctor. Men are 24% less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
We get it guys, but annual checkups and preventive care such as routine screenings are critical to men's health and staying on a path to wellness. Here are some facts about men's health that might just motivate you to get to that annual checkup:
- Men have a shorter life expectancy than women: While the average life expectancy in the United States is 78.8 years, the average life expectancy of men is 76.4 years compared to the average life expectancy for women of 81.2 years.
- Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men, accounting for 1 out of every 4 male deaths. Half of all men who die from coronary heart disease experienced no symptoms. This is why it’s important to have regular screenings for blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as to eat healthy, manage your weight and exercise on a regular basis.
- Vitamins play a key role in cardiovascular health. Vitamin B1, B2, B6, K1, and Niacin, as well as CoQ10 and magnesium, all play a key role in maintaining cardiovascular health, which is why it can be useful to take a multivitamin. It’s like a little extra health insurance to make sure you have your bases covered.
- Cancer is the second leading cause of death in men. The most common cancers among men are skin, prostate, lung and colorectal cancers. Cancer mortality is higher among men than women. But the good news is that from 2003 to 2012 cancer death rates have decreased for both men and women.
- Age 20-30: Men should have a complete physical checkup every 2 to 3 years. This checkup should at least include tests for diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol and thyroid function. At age 30 it is recommended that men have their first electrocardiogram or EKG to screen for heart abnormalities.
- Check for prostate cancer: Those with a history of prostate cancer should begin having an annual PSA blood test in their 40s, which checks for increased levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), an indicator of prostate cancer.
- Ages 40 to 49: Men should have an annual checkup every 1 to 2 years and an EKG every 4 years. A regular checkup should include a check for diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure as well as kidney function and homocysteine levels, which can help detect heart disease.
- Age 50+: Checkups should now take place on an annual basis with an EKG happening every 3 years. Men should consider having a colonoscopy or colorectal health exam, which checks for polyps that can progress to cancer. Colon cancer tends to be slow growing and curable if detected early. Likewise, all men should now undergo testing for prostate cancer.
- Men can get osteoporosis, too. Men age 60 and older should consider a bone mineral density test to check for the onset of osteoporosis. Although there is much talk about taking calcium to maintain bone health, it is equally important to maintain your Vitamin D and Vitamin K intake, which helps your body to properly absorb calcium.
- Watch your weight. Almost 3 in 4 men are considered to be overweight. Maintaining a healthy weight and body mass (calculate your body mass index or BMI here), eating healthy as well as being active for 30 minutes most days of the week can reduce your risk of diabetes, certain cancers and heart disease. The key to men's health starts with these healthy habits.