June is Men's Health Month. This is the perfect opportunity for health professionals to help spread awareness of diseases and illnesses that are particularly common among men. Sharing statistics and suggesting preventative measures will help reduce male patients' risk of developing life-threatening conditions.
Men should always be working to maintain healthy lifestyles with nutritious diets and regular exercise to ensure that their overall health is in check. However, Men's Health Network noted that certain conditions are more prevalent in men, which patients and their doctors should keep an eye on through regular appointments.
During Men's Health Month, health professionals should try to educate male patients on the diseases that are known to impact men most frequently as they age. Here are four tips to spread awareness this month:
1. Inform patients of prevalent diseases
Illnesses like ischemic heart disease account for the most deaths among both men and women in the U.S. Informing patients that the condition is responsible for every 1 in 4 male deaths, killing 307,225 men in 2009 alone, will show patients the impact that the disease can have on them if they don't work to prevent it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Prostate cancer is another disease that should be highlighted, as it affects a significant number of men each year. Men's Health Network pointed out that 1 in every 6 men throughout the country will be diagnosed with the condition at one point in their lives. The American Cancer Society estimated that there will be over 27,500 deaths due to prostate cancer in 2015. Reminding patients that having a father, brother or son with prostate cancer increases their likelihood of developing the condition by two to three times will also encourage them to keep a close eye on their health and catch warning signs early, according to the CDC.
2. Offer screenings
Men's Health Network recommended offering screenings during June for prostate cancer, hypertension and other conditions that tend to impact men as they age. While these illnesses should always be on the radar, promoting screenings and regular checkups during Men's Health Month can put men who have failed to maintain regular screening schedules on the right track. This is especially true for patients who have risk factors like an unhealthy weight or an inactive lifestyle.
3. Discuss preventative measures
While specific diseases have different preventative measures, several are especially effective at improving men's overall health. Aside from regular screenings and checkups, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advised avoiding empty-calorie foods, which include meals that are high in calories but lack nutritional value. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins like chicken and fish will help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Encourage male patients to get the recommended 2.5 hours of moderate to intense aerobic activity each week. The HHS also suggested including separate muscle-strengthening exercises two or more days a week to reduce the risk of developing life-threatening conditions like heart disease.
4. Suggest support if needed
As men age, it can be difficult for them to find the support they need when it comes to tasks like exercising regularly and remembering to take their medications, especially if they live alone. Educating them on their options, such as assisted living homes where they can receive full-time support from professional caregivers, will keep patients up to date on the sources of support that are available to them.
Support groups can also help them if they're finding it challenging to quit poor lifestyle habits or if they're experiencing mental health issues like depression, stress or anxiety.