The month of June has been dedicated to the awareness regarding Men's health which also included June 14 as being Men's Mental Health Day. As your advocate I believe that this is a platform to discuss ways in which we can improve the lives for all. The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to increase the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases amongst men and boys. During my working career, It has always been heart wrenching to watch families go through a health crisis, whether it is caused by a Mother or a Father. But let's face the facts women tend to have a better relationship with going to their Dr's at the first sign or symptom of a health concern. Going to the doctor isn’t everyone’s favourite thing in the world, but it’s important, both when you are sick and for preventive care. Men, however, are much more reluctant than women to go to the doctor, whether it’s for a regular checkup or for a pressing health concern. This is something that I have observed first hand with being a Nurse. Those who believe that the ideal man is the strong, silent type who does not complain about pain may lead to not seeking out preventative measures to keep your health on track. I understand that the not the fear of finding out what’s wrong holds merits for both men and women. In the spirit of men's health month, it is also important to develop conversations and practice regarding good health especially with young boys. You can do this by teaching young boys that it's ok to speak up about how they are feeling both physically and mentally. Remember healthy habits start early.

Ignoring even a mild health concern until it goes away could actually make it worse if treatment is required. The most commonly cited reasons as to why men don't seek medical attention or change unhealthy habits is normally because men have stated that they didn’t feel sick, or sick enough, to seek medical help. The problem with this reasoning, is feeling healthy doesn’t necessarily mean you are healthy. High blood pressure and high cholesterol don’t have obvious symptoms, but these conditions put men at risk for potentially fatal medical problems, such as cardiovascular disease or stroke. Many cancers are easy to miss until they progress and become difficult to treat.

Let's not forget to include that mental health is also a big part of men’s health concerns it has been cited that men are almost four times more likely than women to die by suicide. One reason is that men are more likely to use deadlier means — such as firearms. Treating mental illness and substance abuse can lower the risk of suicide. Men get treatment less often than women, though It's important to remember that mental health disorders are real medical illnesses that can't be wished away. This factor can change outcomes based on one's culture as well.

Some common mental health issues  include.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Anxiety disorders and PTSD
  • Body image and eating disorders
  • Depression
Other mental health conditions include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

With June being the start of bbq season, there is  no time like the present to remind the men and boys in your lives that their health is important. It has been cited that Colon and prostate cancers are associated with diets high in fat and red meat.  It has also  been cited  that Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common form of cancer in men and the third most common form of cancer, after breast and lung cancer in women. The summer months are a great time to start  healthy changes like switching your steak  for chicken, making homemade burgers instead of processed burgers, adding veggies to the grill and of course we can’t forget about choosing healthier hot dogs which is always  a staple for any bbq grill. Another step that you can take should be reading the labels when buying hot dogs  and other products keeping in mind, that you want to use  brands with less sodium, less fat and less processing. Sounds hard? I know, but it can be done.

Tips for the guy in your life
  • Eat healthy. Nutritious foods give you energy and may lower your risk of certain diseases. Focus on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free milk products. Learn nutrition basics and how to read a food label.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can raise your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Find out your body mass index, or BMI, to see if you're at risk. Eat healthy foods, control portion sizes, and be active to keep your weight in check.
  • Get moving. Regular exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Find out how much physical activity you need.
  • Be smoke-free. Smoking is linked to many of the leading causes of death, including cancer, lung disease, and stroke. If you smoke, quit today! Also, avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Get routine exams and screenings. Ask your doctor how often you need to be examined. Ask about screening tests for certain diseases and conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, sexually transmitted infections, and certain types of cancer.
  • Take any medications you need. Thousands of deaths could be prevented each year by taking medications properly. Make sure to follow your doctor's instructions for all medications, including those that help control conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Learn about medication safety.
  • Avoid heavy drinking. Heavy drinking can lead to many problems, including high blood pressure, various cancers, psychological problems, and accidents. For men 65 and younger, drinking in moderation means no more than two drinks per day. Men older than 65 should have no more than one drink a day. Find out about drink serving sizes.
  • Manage stress. Balancing work and family obligations can be challenging. But it's important to protect your mental and physical health. Find healthy ways to cope with stress.
  • Get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep can affect your mood and your health. Try certain changes that can improve your sleep. See your doctor if you think you have a serious problem. Sleep apnea, a common problem in which your breathing stops briefly, can increase the risk of accidents and certain health problems.
  • Know your risks. Learn how your lifestyle affects your risk of health problems. For example, people who work with certain chemicals need to take protective steps, and men who have sex with men should talk with their doctors about particular concerns. You also should keep track of your family medical history and share it with your doctor.
  • Stay safe. Safety means many things, like wearing seatbelts and helmets, having working smoke detectors, and following safety rules at work. It also means using condoms, washing your hands, taking care of your teeth, and wearing sunscreen. Take steps to protect yourself and others.

Men’s Health is  a family issue that shouldn’t be done alone. We should all  take steps to be healthier, Whether it’s your husband, partner, dad, brother, son, or friend you can help support the health and safety of the men in your life. This has been watching out for your health with
Michelle Smith Your Health And Social Advocate

I  take pride in working with adults – by helping them to recognize that character equals destiny…that success in careers, relationships, and life can be determined by the actions we choose to take or not take; that ultimately we are the architects of our own lives. As human beings, we have a tendency to concentrate on all the ways life can beat us up. I encourage people to shift to an “attitude of gratitude”, and to open up to the good fortune that surrounds all of us.
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