International Men’s Health Awareness Week
June 10th to 16th is International Men’s Health Awareness Week. Whilst men sometimes like to portray themselves as ‘macho’ and tough, it really is important that you guys take good care of your health. So whether you are a man reading this, a partner of a man, or a parent of a man/boy make sure that you are aware of the health risks out there this International Men’s Health Awareness Week.
Not to frighten anyone, but the data out there on health when it comes to men shows that fellas are at higher risks when it comes to certain diseases. These include:
Heart disease is a major issue in Ireland, The Irish Heart Foundation predicts that by 2020 Cardiovascular disease rates increase by 40% in Ireland.
Whilst heart disease does impact both sexes, men tend to suffer from the effects earlier on in life. According to Harvard Medical School, heart attacks (“the most common manifestation of this prevalent disease”) take place in men, on average, at age 65. In women the average age to suffer a first heart attack is 72.
A 2008 report by several research institutions in Scotland, showed that men are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. It was found that men developed type 2 diabetes at a much lower BMI rate than women. Meaning men are more susceptible to the disease at a lower weight gain than women. Type 2 diabetes is caused by too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. Whilst sometimes genetic, weight gain plays a significant role in developing the disease. Whilst no concrete reason has been given for why men can develop the disease easier than women, theories about insulin resistance, and fat storage have been suggested.
Skin cancer does affect both sexes. According the to Marie Keating Foundation women are more likely to develop skin cancer, whilst men are more likely to die from it. Skin cancer can affect men of all ages, “ rates are increasing among both younger and older men” - Marie Keating Foundation.
Why are men more likely to die from skin cancer? The American Academy of Dermatology have two suggestions:
Men aren’t as aware of skin cancer: Studies have shown women use sunscreen more frequently than men. Cosmetics containing SPF are also used predominantly by women, which offers them some protection.
Men’s skin itself: Whilst women may use SPF more than men, it’s not the only theory as to why men die from skin cancer at a higher rate. The answer may lie in the skin itself. Men’s skin contains more collagen and elastin (the stuff that pulls skin tight and makes you look young). Men also have thick skin, with less fat stored underneath. This genetic makeup means that men’s skin reacts differently to UV rays. Hence what could be causing the difference.
Look After Yourself
Now you know what some of the main health risks for men are (see more here). It’s important to look after yourself. Some tips for a healthier lifestyle:
Find a good doctor and actually visit - a checkup with your doctor is very important, at any age. The Jinga Life app lets you record all your appointments and health info so there’s really no excuse!
Exercise - 30 minutes of exercise a day can make the world of difference to your physical and mental health.
Check yourself - things like skin cancer and prostate cancer can often show physical symptoms on your body. Moles, lumps and bumps are all things to look out for. It doesn’t take long, and it could save your life.
Eat well - swapping red meat for chicken, a bottle of water instead of a sugary soft drink, or some fruit instead of a second bag of crisps can all help on the journey to a healthier you!