June is Men’s Health Month, a reminder for all males to implement healthy lifestyle choices and take better care of their mind and body. Implementing healthy living and lifestyle choices is especially important for men over the age of 60. Regular checkups, preventative care as well as screenings are critical to your health as you age.

June is a month to encourage men to establish routines that involve nutrition, exercise, and annual health checkups. The annual exam should include a blood pressure check and workup, testing for testicular cancer, diabetes, cholesterol, electrolytes, vitamin D and thyroid levels, urine sample, and an overall thorough exam. Screenings such as prostate, colon, hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes are needed on a regular basis. Men should consult their physician for the most appropriate timing and frequency for screening.

June is Men’s Health Month

Reminders for Seniors & Preventative Steps to Take

Weight can be a major health concern as men age. Monitoring food intake and eating balanced meals are critical to maintaining a healthy weight. Add exercise into your daily routine. Men should aim for 30 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity four to six times a week. Check with your physician for the appropriate exercise regimen for your needs and age.

Talk with your physician about your mental health. This can sometimes be difficult for men since they don’t always like to talk about their problems. Depression and anxiety need to be addressed, and as a result, talking to a trusted health care worker, or family member is important.

The key is to establish a prevention routine. Seek out a physician that you trust and schedule an annual exam. It is important to your overall health to do so.

Men’s Health Facts

1. According to the CDC, the average lifespan for men is about five years less than the average lifespan for women. Over the years there has been a gradual increase in this gap.

2. The top three causes of death for men include heart disease, cancer, and unintentional injuries.

3. Men are almost twice as likely as women to die of a heart attack and significantly more likely to die from certain types of cancer.

4. Men are less likely to undergo treatment for mental health conditions such as depression, resulting in an increased likelihood of committing suicide.

5. Men are less likely to seek healthcare than women.

6. Prostate cancer affects one in nine men. In fact, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men.

7. Men should be making better lifestyle choices. Heavy drinking and smoking can have severe health implications. Healthy food choices and regular exercise are also factors.

Be aware of what signs to look for as you age. The list below represents some of the most common health issues for men over 60 years of age.

Heart Health

Heart disease comes in many forms. Nonetheless, all of its forms can lead to serious, fatal complications if undetected. Stroke targets more than three million men. High blood pressure is common in males under the age of 45, according to the American Heart Association. Routine checkups can help keep your heart beating. Your doctor can calculate your risk for cardiovascular disease based on several risk factors, including your cholesterol, blood pressure, and smoking habits.

COPD and other respiratory diseases

Many respiratory diseases start with an innocent “smoker’s cough.” Over time, that cough can lead to life-threatening conditions, such as lung cancer, emphysema, or COPD. All of these conditions interfere with your ability to breathe.

According to the American Lung Association, each year more men are diagnosed with and develop lung cancer than in years past. African-American men have a higher risk of dying from the disease compared to other racial or ethnic groups.

While exposure to occupational hazards like asbestos increases your risk of developing lung cancer, smoking remains the leading cause of lung cancer. If you have smoked for more than 30 years, a low-dose CT scan is in your best interest to screen for lung cancer.

Alcohol: Friend or Foe?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), men face higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations than women. Studies also suggest that men binge drink twice as much as women. Men are also prone to increased aggression and sexual assault against women when under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Alcohol consumption increases your risk for cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon. Alcohol also interferes with testicular function and hormone production. In some cases, excessive alcohol consumption can result in impotence and infertility. According to the CDC, men are more likely to commit suicide than women. Men also are more likely to have been drinking alcohol prior to committing suicide.

Depression and Suicide

Researchers at The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimate that at least 6 million men annually suffer from depressive disorders, including suicidal thoughts. Ways to combat signs of depression include:

  • Getting regular exercise, even just going for routine walks around your neighborhood
  • Journaling or writing down your thoughts
  • Communicating openly with friends and family
  • Seeking professional help

Unintentional Injuries and Accidents

In 2006, the CDC listed unintentional injury as a leading cause of death for men. This includes drowning, traumatic brain injuries, and fireworks-related mishaps.

Motor vehicle death rates for male drivers and passengers ages 15 to 19 were also almost twice that of females in 2006. Male workers incurred 92 percent of the 5,524 total reported fatal occupational injuries. Always remember, safety first.

Liver Disease

Your liver is the size of a football. The liver is essential as it helps you digest food and absorb nutrients. More importantly, the liver rids your body of toxic substances. Liver disease includes conditions such as:

  • Cirrhosis
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Autoimmune or genetic liver diseases
  • Bile duct cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Alcoholic liver disease

According to the American Cancer Society, alcohol and tobacco use increases your chance of developing liver disease.

Diabetes

If left untreated, diabetes can lead to nerve and kidney damage, heart disease and stroke, and even vision problems or blindness. Men with diabetes face a risk of lower testosterone levels and sexual impotence. This can lead to increased depression or anxiety.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) celebrates today’s modern man as someone who is more aware of his blood sugar health. The ADA recommends that men get out, get active, and get informed. The best way to control your diabetes is to eat healthy and exercise. If you have a family history of diabetes, it is important to see your doctor to have periodic screenings for diabetes.

Influenza and Pneumonia

Influenza and infection are two of the most common health risks for aging men. Men who have compromised immune systems due to COPD, diabetes, congestive heart failure, sickle cell anemia, AIDS, or cancer are more susceptible to influenza and pneumonia.

Men are almost 25 percent more likely to die from these diseases than women, according to the American Lung Association. To prevent influenza and pneumonia, the American Lung Association recommends vaccination.

Skin Cancer

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, two-thirds of melanoma deaths in 2013 were men. This is more than twice the rate of women. Sixty percent of all melanoma deaths were white men over the age of 50.

Help protect yourself against skin cancer by wearing long sleeves and pants, hats with wide brims, sunglasses, and sunscreen when outdoors. You can also lower your risk of skin cancer by avoiding exposure to UV light sources, such as tanning beds or sunlamps.

HIV and AIDS

Men who are infected with HIV may not realize it, as initial symptoms may mimic a cold or flu. As of 2010, men account for 76 percent of people infected with HIV, according to the CDC.

The CDC found that men who have sex with men account for most new and existing HIV infections. African-American men have the highest rate of new HIV infection among all men.

Men’s Health Matters All Year Long

To live your healthiest life, take an active role in your well-being year-round, not just during Men’s Health Month – June. That means learning about aging men’s top health issues, staying up to date with recommended screenings, and prioritizing healthy eating and exercise. It can be comforting knowing that most men’s health issues are preventable or treatable. However, staying proactive is the key to prevention!

Additional Reading: Aging: What to expect

Promedcare | Fremont, Columbus, Norfolk, and Blair, Nebraska

Our goal is to keep you or your loved one healthy, happy, and safe at home. The Promedcare team of management and caregivers understands the importance of providing care within the comfort of one’s own home. Families choose Promedcare for different reasons. For some, it’s to provide extensive ongoing care for an aging senior. For others, we offer a much-needed break or, respite care – such as a night out with a spouse, vacation, or simply a few hours of quiet time at home – for family members who provide regular care. We offer a wide range of care services customized for each individual client. Promedcare services include Personal Care Services, Companion Care Services, Dementia / Alzheimer’s Care Services, and Respiratory Solutions.