Happy Men's Health Week to all the dudes out there!
Thanks for joining us today for the awareness blog! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week! This week, we’re going to have a few posts in honor of Men’s Health Week and other health related observances. So, be sure to check back throughout the week to keep up with us! Don’t stress… we wont be churning out posts like this every week. We’ll get back to our weekly posts next week. The reason I have chosen to do a couple of Men’s Health Week posts is because there is a prominent issue in our culture that encourages men to tough out pain, or overcome problems by “manning up”. This is an extremely dangerous attitude to foster in our society because men aren’t completely honest with their doctors during annual exams, and they don’t get the medical attention they need until it’s too late. Annual physicals are not an opportunity to prove your masculinity. Your doctor doesn’t care anyway. The only thing your doctor cares about is your health, and if you are masking symptoms or pretending you’re fine, your doctor cannot take care of you. And, for all the guys out there who consider going to the doctor for annual exams to be unnecessary, you are dead wrong. Not going to the doctor doesn’t make you tough, it makes you stupid, and sometimes it makes you dead. So, please, for the sake of your family who loves you and needs you to be around for as long as possible, go get your check up. I apologize if I’m coming across as harsh, but it’s the truth. I have a father, and brother, and a husband, and I need all of them to take care of themselves, if for no other reason than my selfish desire for them to be alive. I would rather hear them complain about something that’s bothering them than pretend to be fine. Pretending to be fine has literally never lead to actually being fine. So, just be upfront about what’s going on, and get yourself a check up if you think there may be a problem (or if we tell you to). End rant. Let’s talk men’s health issues.
Did you know that men die an average of five years earlier than women? The average life expectancy for men in the United States is 78.8 years old. That doesn’t sound too bad when you think about it, until you look at life expectancies for men in other countries. A lot of that has to do with the particular lifestyle choices that are common in our country, as well as attitudes towards mental health. In 2015, the life expectancy for men in the United States ranked 43 out of all nations. Considering that there are over 200 countries, it seems like we’re pretty high up there. When you consider the amount of technology, health care and resources we have available to us, though, we should be doing much better. We fall behind a lot of European nations with equivalent access.
In the United States, 10 causes account for 75 percent of all deaths. Heart disease is in first place year after year after year in both sexes, but the men die from it more than women do. One out of every four deaths is caused by heart disease. Heart disease affects all demographics of our country, without racial or ethnic preference. Between 70 and 89 percent of heart attacks/cardiac events in America happen to men. Half of the men that die from those heart attacks had no previous symptoms. Most of them were at risk, and risk can be managed and greatly reduced with treatment and lifestyle adjustments. Just because you don’t have any symptoms, doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk. That’s why annual exams and physicals are so important. Risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, family history, being overweight or obese, excessive alcohol consumption, and poor diet. Half of Americans have either high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or smoke.
The second leading cause of death is cancer. Lung cancer accounts for more deaths than any other type of cancer. Cancer can develop in anyone at any time. I think that’s one of the scariest things about it. You can be the picture of health and still develop cancer, which is yet another reason why going to the doctor when you feel something unusual and having annual exams is so crucial. Most people who have cancer discovered the disease themselves, and sometimes, unfortunately, they wait too long. While I can totally understand the wait and see approach, things like cancer have the most successful outcomes when they are caught early. Things that may even seem like age-related ware and tear can sometimes be symptoms of something much more sinister, so it is important to talk about it with your doctor. For men, the top three cancers that cause death are lung cancer, prostate cancer, and colon and rectum cancer. It has been estimated by The World Cancer Research Fund that as many as one third of cancer cases in the U.S. are due to obesity or being overweight, lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle, and poor nutrition. All three of these factors are within our control, which means they are preventable cases of cancer. Also, I just want to throw this in, most cases of melanoma can be prevented completely by just wearing sunscreen. Don’t forget the back of your neck; that’s one of the most common places for men to get skin cancer.
The third leading cause of death is called Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease, or CLRD. CLRD is an umbrella term for a handful of respiratory diseases that cause breathing issues, or block airways. Most commonly, death from CLRD is caused by COPD, which stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. CLRD also includes bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma. The biggest thing you can do to prevent CLRD is to not smoke, and avoid environments where you may be exposed to second hand smoke. Regular smoke from a wood-burning fireplace or bonfire isn’t great for you either. The general rule is try not to inhale smoke. CLRD can be caused by other things, too, such as pollution, workplace exposure to chemicals or other pollutants, genetic predisposition, and chronic respiratory infections. Back to COPD, though. 80 percent of COPD deaths can be directly caused by smoking. That means 80 percent of deaths from COPD are preventable. If smoking related deaths were eliminated, a massive portion of CLRD deaths would be gone. It would make a big enough difference that CLRD would drop in cause of death rankings, considerably.
The fourth leading cause of death in the United States is called “unintentional injuries.” I know what you’re thinking, “aren’t most injuries unintentional?” Yes. What unintentional injuries really means is accidents. Accidents are one of the top causes of death in people 44 and under. Obviously, nobody sets out to get in an accident, and by nature, they are unintentional, but there are some things that can reduce the risk of death from unintentional injury. It’s pretty common sense stuff, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t actually do them. Prevention includes wearing your seatbelt, not drinking and driving, not texting while driving, and just overall better road safety. Don’t tail slow drivers in front of you, don’t swerve through traffic (studies have shown that swerving through traffic makes very little difference in how much faster you get to your destination, by the way), don’t speed, let merging cars over, etc.
The fifth leading cause of death is stroke, also called cerebrovascular disease. Your risk for stroke depends on a lot of factors. It can vary by demographic. But the one thing that is true despite demographic differences is that your risk will continually increase with age, particularly after age 65. Something close to 75 percent of strokes occur in people over the age of 65. Strokes are similar to heart disease in terms of risk factors and prevention. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are the top risk factors, just like heart disease. The other risk factors are pretty much the same as heart disease, such as being overweight or obese, not getting enough exercise, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking. Some different risk factors include diabetes, dehydration, not taking medication exactly as prescribed. There are other risk factors, but these are the most common.
I think I’ll stop here, exactly half way through the top ten causes of death. To be continued this week. Make sure you check back for part 2.
If you are new to our blog, welcome! Thanks for reading. I hope you found our awareness blog interesting and informative. Our goal at Personalized Cause is to help raise awareness for as many causes as possible with our awareness blog. We’re in the awareness business, which is why we started the awareness blog. Personalized Cause is an awareness accessory business that is known for our custom awareness ribbons. If you’ve never visited our site before, you may not know what custom awareness ribbons are. Our custom awareness ribbons give customers the ability to have any name, date, message or phrase engraved, so that you can communicate to others why you wear the awareness ribbon. Many of our customers personalize their awareness ribbons with a name because they are raising awareness in honor of someone they care about. We also have customers who choose to personalize their awareness ribbons with the name of an illness they suffer from. In wearing the custom awareness ribbon, they become their own advocate while raising awareness for their cause. No matter what your reason, or what you choose to personalize your awareness ribbon with, they are a beautiful and unique way to show support, love, or raise awareness.
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