Happy Movember! The month of November has been picked by the Movember Foundation to raise awareness of men’s health issues including prostate and testicular cancer as well as mental health issues.
Movember has raised awareness and helped to prevent men dying prematurely. As it stands now, the average lifespan of American men is 5 years shorter than women – 7 years shorter worldwide.
Though the statistics look grim, the Movember movement is working to help men all over the world live longer, healthier lives. The goal of the movement is to reduce premature death among men by 25% when 2030 hits – and they are achieving this goal with fun activities!
What Shortens Men’s Lifespans?
Men and women approach health differently. Unfortunately, the attitude many men have toward their health and common men’s health concerns is often less thoughtful than that of women. This is too often due to societal pressure to “walk it off” when a man feels he has a physical or mental health problem. Other factors that reduce men’s lifespans include:
- Heart health. Men are 50% more likely to die of heart disease than women. Often, issues like high cholesterol or blood pressure can be reduced with a healthy diet and consistent exercise.
- Prostate and testicular cancers. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, while testicular cancer is less common- but is more likely to appear in younger men. Both cancers are unique to men, and neither have a 100% effective treatment. While men can make lifestyle changes like lowering stress levels and eating nutritious foods to help prevent cancer, it’s also essential that proper screening and early treatment occurs.
- Lower levels of social support. People who have few social connections have lower life expectancies, and women tend to have larger and more diverse social networks than men. A great way to resolve this is to get out and socialize by joining groups of people with similar interests, attending parties, and having intimate one-on-ones.
- High suicide rates. Though depression is common among women, men are 3.5 times more likely to die from suicide than women. While the reason for this issue is still being studied, it is suggested that two factors may be behind the high suicide rates in men. First is that discussing mental health issues or even personal challenges is still stigmatized among men. The second is that excessive alcohol consumption leads to impulsivity – and men drink more excessively than women. If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal or expressing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
- Avoiding health professionals. There is still a dangerous stigma in our society which leads men to avoid doctors, nutritionists, acupuncturists, physical therapists, and other health professionals when they aren’t feeling well. This causes minor or curable health issues to fester and become major problems. Most insurers cover an annual checkup, so getting one scheduled should be a breeze.
How Does Movember Help Men Live Longer?
Growing a mustache one month out of every year doesn’t seem like much, but the Movember movement has taken the world by storm. The main focuses of this movement have been cancers specific to men and suicide prevention, but the movement goes beyond these three issues. It encourages men to get connected, exercise, and get regular wellness check-ups.
Additionally, participating in Movember helps men and women everywhere start a conversation about men’s health and financially support organizations that are working to help men get healthier. The month of November isn’t just a month of flamboyant mustaches – it’s a month in which we all can work together to help men live longer and healthier lives.
Are you participating in Movember? Take your first step and schedule a wellness exam today!