Men’s Health Month is a month-long platform that promotes awareness, health, and wellness among men. It is an occasion celebrated annually in the United States and other countries. Men’s Health month promotes healthy habits and reduces the leading causes of death among men. Overall, lifestyle choices play a significant role in preventing the majority of the top 10 killers of men in the US.
Let’s look at the top 10 causes of death of men in the US. With most of these, men can work toward prevention through lifestyle choices. This is for all races. However, some differences exist as we break it down by individual race.
Men’s Health Month – Top 10 causes of death:
- Heart disease
- Unintentional injuries
- Chronic respiratory conditions
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Influenza & pneumonia
- Chronic liver disease
How race plays a part
- African American men have a higher death rate than white or Hispanic men in heart disease.
- Cancer is more prevalent in African American men, who are around 20% more likely to die than other races.
- Unintentional injuries are more likely among Native American/Alaska Native and Hispanic men than white men.
- Chronic respiratory conditions are more common among African Americans and Native American/Alaska Natives than other races.
- Stroke is more common in African American men than other racial groups.
- Diabetes is higher among Native American/Alaska Native and Hispanic men than whites.
- Alzheimer’s disease is most prevalent in African American and Hispanic men.
- Suicide rates among Native American/Alaska Natives and Hispanic men are higher than white men.
- Influenza & pneumonia is highest in African Americans compared to other races.
- Chronic liver disease is most prevalent in Hispanic and African American men, followed by white men.
Men can work toward prevention and avoidance through lifestyle measures such as:
- Consuming a low saturated fat and plant predominant diet
- Smoking cessation
- Moderate to no alcohol consumption
- Getting at 150 minutes of exercise per week
- Managing stress
- Getting regular checkups and assessing risk factors with your doctor.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men in the US, accounting for 1 in every four deaths. Lifestyle measures can help prevent it, such as:
- Reducing saturated fat in the diet
- Drinking in moderation
- Quitting smoking
- Exercising for at least 150 minutes every week
Cancer is the second leading cause of death among men in the US, accounting for 1 in every three deaths. Lifestyle measures to prevent cancer include:
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Not smoking
- Sun protection
Unintentional injuries are a leading cause of death for men in the U.S., accounting for 43.5% of all deaths in 2018. This death category includes injuries from motor vehicle accidents, poisoning, and falls. Wearing a seatbelt while driving, avoiding drinking and driving, and using protective gear while playing contact sports can prevent unintentional injuries.
Chronic respiratory conditions
Chronic respiratory conditions are one of the leading causes of death among men. Examples of these illnesses include:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Various forms of lung cancer
These conditions occur from smoking, air pollution, occupational hazards, and other environmental irritants. Men are at an increased risk of developing these conditions due to their higher rates of smoking and exposure to hazardous substances. Treatment options vary depending on the type and severity of the condition, but may include changes in lifestyle, medications, oxygen therapy, or surgery.
A stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply is cut off, meaning it gets no oxygen. This can cause brain cells to die, resulting in various physical and mental health effects. Some of the risk factors for stroke include:
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat)
- an unhealthy diet.
- Other risk factors include age, family history, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Taking measures to reduce these risk factors can help lower the chances of having a stroke. A healthy lifestyle that includes:
- Managing blood pressure and cholesterol
- Quitting smoking
- Eating healthily
- Exercising for at least 150 minutes weekly
- Managing diabetes and obesity
Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin. Or, when it cannot use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body control the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. With diabetes, glucose levels build up in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy. This can lead to a range of serious health complications. This includes kidney damage, nerve damage, and heart disease.
There are several types of diabetes, but Type 1 and Type 2 are the most common. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. This means that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes is caused by lifestyle factors, including being overweight and inactive. Healthy lifestyle measures can prevent and manage diabetes.
There are several risk factors associated with Type 2 diabetes, such as:
- Age (risk increases after 45 years of age)
- Family history
- Certain medical conditions such as:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Pancreatic cancer
This disease is yet to be fully understood. There is evidence that a healthy lifestyle may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Lifestyle measures such as exercising, eating healthily, and social engagement may play a role in reducing the onset.
Recent studies suggest that men may be more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than women. This could be due to a number of factors. These include the fact that men tend to have higher levels of oxidative stress and inflammation. These are thought to play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s. Additionally, men have lower levels of estrogen. This may provide some protection against Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, men tend to develop other diseases associated with Alzheimer’s (such as cardiovascular disease) earlier in life than women. Men may also be less likely to seek help for symptoms of Alzheimer’s or go to the doctor regularly, leading to a delay in diagnosis.
Men are more likely to commit suicide than women. Depression, anxiety, stress, and social isolation can contribute to suicide. This is due to a variety of factors such as societal expectations, differences in coping styles, and access to resources. Societal expectations placed on men may play a role in their increased risk. Many cultures view men as strong and independent. Society expects them to cope with difficulties without seeking help. Men may be less likely to seek support or professional treatment when feeling overwhelmed or despondent. But this shouldn’t be the case!
Access to resources can also influence the likelihood of suicide in men. Men generally have fewer outlets for emotional support than women. This makes it harder for them to find help when in need. Men are less likely than women to visit primary care doctors and seek medical advice. This can lead to mental health issues going undiagnosed or untreated, increasing the risk of suicide.
If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, it is important to reach out for help and remember that there is hope, especially during Men’s Health Month.
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network. Call them toll-free if you are having unstable thoughts.
Influenza and pneumonia
Lifestyle measures such as avoiding exposure to the flu, getting vaccinated, and washing hands frequently can prevent the flu and reduce the risk of developing pneumonia.
Chronic liver disease
Men can work to prevent chronic liver disease by lifestyle measures such as:
- Not drinking excess alcohol
- Vaccinating against hepatitis B
- Getting regular liver checkups while high risk (like those with a family history of liver disease)
Men’s health month is a time to examine the leading causes of death among men in the US. I want to raise awareness and help men take proactive steps toward preventing these diseases. Every man must take responsibility for his lifestyle choices and make choices that promote good health and longevity. It’s vital to remember that small changes count and make a significant difference in your health. Living a healthier life is an ongoing commitment that requires dedication and effort! But in the end, the rewards are well worth the investment! Don’t forget to share this blog post with those stubborn men in your life who may need it during Men’s Health Month!
MY GUIDES WILL OPTIMIZE YOUR GUT!
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