The globally recognized Movember campaign, started in 2004, has progressively brought about an increased awareness of health issues specific to men including prostate and testicular cancers, as well as the importance of exercise, mental health, and the prevention of suicide.
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 brought about additional concerns for men’s health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has published data showing that men are 50% - 70% more likely to die from COVID-19 than females.1 This growing gap can partially be attributed to higher numbers of underlying health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, but additionally, “men have a weaker immune response to respiratory infections…they are more likely to drink alcohol at unsafe levels, and smoke. They are less likely to wash their hands regularly or seek medical help at the right time.” 2 The data also shows that men who have the worst health outcomes “include men from Black and minority ethnic groups, including indigenous men in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA, and elsewhere.”2
The health statistics speak for themselves. According to the WHO, “the causes of death that most contribute to a lower life expectancy for men than women are ischemic heart disease, road injuries, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke, cirrhosis of the liver, tuberculosis (TB), prostate cancer, and interpersonal violence.”4
In the United States, to the American Heart Association states that “more than one in three adult men have some form of cardiovascular disease”, including high blood pressure in men under the age of 45.5 The American Lung Association data shows that every year “more men are diagnosed with and develop lung cancer than in years past.5 The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) “estimate that at least 6 million men suffer from depressive disorders, including suicidal thoughts” every year.5 In the United Kingdom, the NHS recommends a “health check” for men ages 40-74. Their data estimates that every year, these checks:
- “Save 650 lives
- prevent 1,600 heart attacks and strokes
- prevent 4,000 people from developing type 2 diabetes
- detect at least 20,000 cases of type 2 diabetes or kidney disease earlier”.6
In closing, the Limbs & Things family hopes that all the men in our lives will consider the World Health Organization’s top five things men can do for good health:7
- Get regular check-ups for high blood pressure, blood sugar, prostate, and mental health
- Decrease alcohol use to reduce the risk of injury, liver, and heart disease
- Quit smoking to reduce risk of stroke, heart, and lung diseases
- Eat a healthy diet to reduce the risk of diabetes
- Be more active with at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity per week.