National Men’s Health Month

June is Men’s Health Month. This year, the focus is on setting a good example for the next generation. In addition, Men’s Health Month 2022 is calling for two important steps for men’s health:

Get screened

First, make sure you have a wellness visit with your primary care physician each year. At your wellness visit, you’ll be screened for a number of conditions. here are some things that your doctor might recommend:

  • Check your blood pressure. High blood pressure is very common, and most people who have it don’t realize that they do. 
  • Screen for type 2 diabetes. 288,800 Arkansas adults have been diagnosed with diabetes. An estimated 75,000 more have diabetes and don’t know it. 797,000 people, or one third of all adults in Arkansas, are pre-diabetic. (Numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health.)
  • Cholesterol screenings should begin at age 35. High cholesterol is a risk for heart disease.
  • Screen for colorectal cancer. The current recommendation is to have this screening beginning at age 45; however, some insurance plans do not cover colonoscopies until age 50. Talk with your doctor about ways to screen for colon cancer and check with your health insurance plan. 
  • HIV and STD testing may be needed. Talk with your doctor to see whether you should be tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Mental health screening should be part of your wellness visit. Mental health is as important as physical health, and many men hesitate to ask for help when they need it. 

Stay active

The top two causes of death among men in America are heart disease and cancer. #3 is currently COVID-19.

Both heart disease and cancer led to death in more than 600,000 men in 2020, the most recent year for which information is available. Here’s something else these two killers have in common: you have a lower risk of either one if you exercise regularly. 

The CDC recommends 150 minutes of aerobic exercise, like walking or running, each week, and two sessions of strength training. That works out to 30 minutes a day. There is evidence that a little exercise is good for you even if you can’t meet that goal. 

About half of American men get that much activity, and fewer than one-third get both aerobic and strength training on a regular basis. 

When you commit to staying active, you show your kids — and grandkids — that physical fitness is worth making time for. 

June is a great time to make this change in your life if you’re not already active.