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Men’s Health Week

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From this Monday 11th June the world is celebrating Men’s Health Week, in order to highlight the wide variety of health-related issues that men everywhere face.

One of the vital reasons to spread this message is that men are much less likely to visit a doctor or even notice the signs of illness than women are, as is proven by numerous studies. Research from Boots has found that men are less likely to follow up on any warning symptoms, with blokes in Britain visiting the doctor 20% less than their female counterparts. This isn’t ideal considering that in the UK, more than 100,000 men a year die prematurely, and one man in five dies before the age of 65. Seeking help could have saved many of those lives.

Preventable causes of death and disease are a huge factor in men’s health statistics, and of course especially in these case of avoidable health risks, raising awareness is crucial. Alcohol consumption kills six times more men than women across the globe, and smoking, skin cancer, testicular cancer, liver disease and diabetes (all diseases in which lifestyle can contribute) are major killers of males. Meanwhile, 80 per cent of all spinal cord injuries affect young men. This is not to say that these conditions cannot strike for no identifiable reason, but we must do what we can to lessen the instances that are avoidable. On average men live 4.4 years less than women do, and in too many cases this is attributable to lifestyle rather than genetics or evolutionary advantage. There is a change for the better that can be made!

Improving men’s health outcomes is a two-way process between men and the resources that they have available to them, in the form of their relationships, communities and health services. It is important that men make use of health services to preventatively manage their health, finding out if problems exist before it’s too late.  But equally, health services need to know how to reach out to, communicate with and engage with men in order to be effective in helping them when they do come through the door.

It’s a reciprocal process that is about creating environments that support men’s ability to access healthcare effectively, and support health services to treat men effectively.

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