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Men’s Health Week: Understanding Health Risks, Preventive Measures and More

By Dr Zubair Abdulahi 19 June 2019   |   2:37 pm

Every June, we celebrate the Men’s Health Awareness Week – a week dedicated to raising awareness on the leading preventable causes of death involving men of all ages globally. The awareness week is from the 10th to the 16th of June every year.

According to research carried out by the American Heart Association, men are less likely to go to the hospital when they have health concerns and are less likely to own insurance.

This leaves men at a greater risk for preventable deaths in every age group. To put things into perspective, men averagely die 5 years earlier than women do.

In this article, we will examine the five leading causes of death in men globally and tips for prevention.

Top Five Causes Of Death Affecting Men

Infectious diseases

This is an umbrella term which encompasses disease such as Malaria, HIV/AIDS, Diarrheal diseases, Lower respiratory tract illnesses and Tuberculosis, among others. They are the leading cause of death in Nigeria, as well as in other low-income countries.

These diseases, while common in every age grade and in both sexes, are particularly worse in men because they are more likely to tough it out rather than present at hospitals and are more likely to default with medical advice.

Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)

These are diseases which are not directly transmissible from one person to another. They are often slowly developing and related to one’s lifestyle. They are responsible for a large chunk of deaths globally.

Some of the most notorious non-communicable diseases are:

  • Heart disease: This includes a group of problems relating to the build-up of plaque in the vessels of the heart, causing them to become narrower and enabling the formation of clots.
  • Stroke: This is one of the leading causes of death and disability globally. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain gets blocked or bursts causing death to the brain cells starved of oxygen.
  • Diabetes: This is a chronic disease resulting from inadequate levels of insulin in the blood. While it is seen in both men and women from different parts of the world, it is more common in men with over 200 million men affected globally.

Cancer

Cancers were responsible for 34% of deaths globally in 2018 with lung cancer leading the way. The most common cancers in men are lung cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, stomach cancer and bladder cancer. Overall, cancers are more common in men than in women.

Men’s health awareness illustration |Photo: Dianova

Unintentional injuries

Unintentional injuries are injuries that are unplanned, usually with an outcome that was harmful and unforeseen causing physical damage or the loss of life. They include road traffic accidents, poisonings, falls, burns and drowning. Men account for a large percentage of the victims of unintentional injuries globally.

Suicide

Over the past few decades, suicide rates have climbed to a record high, increasing by 60% worldwide. It is a significant cause of death in people of both sexes between the age of 15 to 44 years. However, men are more likely to commit suicide among all age grades around the world. Conditions such as depression and substance abuse are associated with a large number of suicide cases globally.

Photo: Capital Research

Six Preventive Tips To Stay Healthy

Early Presentation

Whenever you feel under the weather, you should endeavour to speak with your doctor. Early treatment will save you money and time while extending the length and quality of your life. Compliance to medical advice and taking your medications as prescribed will also be immensely beneficial to your health.

Also, discuss appropriate screening tests for your age with your doctor so as to pick up problems early, if there are any. Early detection and treatment save lives.

Exercise

Getting about 30 minutes of exercise daily has been shown to reduce the risk of developing some major lifestyle diseases while also helping you improve the outcome of these diseases. Ensure that you work this into your busy schedule.

Eat Healthily

A balanced meal containing carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins as well as fruits and vegetables goes a long way in providing your body with the necessary fuel and nutrients for a healthy life. If you do have to make dietary changes due to disease diagnosis, endeavour to make necessary plans to effect those changes.

Speak Out

If you feel down and sad for a prolonged period of time or already have a diagnosis of depression, speak up and seek professional help. This will help you better address your worries and concerns.

Quit Harmful Health Practices

Cigarette smoking is directly implicated in the development of lung cancer. It also plays a definitive role in the development of cancers in other parts of the body, such as bladder cancer. Additionally, it may worsen the outcome of existing disease conditions that you may have.

Excessive intake of alcohol has also been linked to the development or worsening of different disease conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Quitting smoking and limiting your alcohol intake will reduce your risk of being ill overall.

Always observe safety protocols

When operating machinery at work or while doing chores at home, be safety conscious. If you are driving, pay attention to the road and avoid using your phone or using alcohol before or while driving.

 

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