Strong and capable. That’s the image many young men like to present to the world. But all too often, that image interferes with a man’s willingness to recognize he has health problems.
In fact, men often don’t make their own health a priority, according to the American Journal of Men’s Health. They don’t see their doctor for health issues as often as women do, which means they miss opportunities to treat health problems early. One result of this is that, statistically, women are healthier than men. Their average life expectancy is five years longer than the life expectancy for men.
Here are some of the leading health risks for young men in the United States today:
Trauma from injuries is the leading cause of death and disability among young people, especially due to automotive accidents. Taking away cars and roads as a factor, drowning is one of the leading causes of death among young people, and more than two-thirds of the drowning fatalities every year are male.
Ironically, swimming can have immense health benefits. The solution is education on water safety and how to swim.
Depression is one of the leading causes of illness and death among young people. While women were once thought to be more prone to depression than men, today the thinking is that men are more likely to hide their depressed feelings.
Depression can disturb sleep, appetite, energy and performance in many activities, and even contributes to heart disease. All too often, it increases risk of suicide.
Regular exercise and good relationships with family, friends and community can have profound impacts on mood and depression.
By the time lung cancer is found, it’s often so advanced that it’s difficult to cure. Less than half of men who are diagnosed with lung cancer survive a year.
Ninety percent of lung cancer is caused by tobacco smoke. While smoking rates have been falling in the United States for years, lung cancer is still the leading cancer killer in men.
Quitting smoking reduces the risk, no matter how long you’ve been smoking. Regular checkups are important for smokers and non-smokers alike.
Untreated diabetes can damage kidneys and nerves, leading to blindness, amputation, heart disease and stroke. It also reduces testosterone levels and contributes to impotence, depression and anxiety.
Unfortunately, one third of boys born in 2000 — now young adults — will develop diabetes in their lifetimes. The main contributor is excess weight are and obesity.
The best way to control diabetes is through a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Young men whose family members have diabetes should also have regular screenings from their doctors.
While we think of this as more of an older person’s problem, heart disease can strike at any age. High blood pressure, a main contributor to heart disease, is common in males under age 45, according to the American Heart Association. Regular checkups, avoiding smoking and controlling cholesterol can help keep your heart healthy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that twice as many men as women have alcohol-related deaths and hospitalization. Men binge drink twice as much as women, as well.
Alcohol consumption increases the risk for cancer, interferes with testicular function, and can lead to impotence, infertility and suicide attempts.
Take charge of your health
The good news is that the younger you are, the easier it is to take charge of improving your health on your own terms. Call us at Proactive Wellness Centers today to find out how we can help you take a proactive approach to your health.