Jun 24th, 2022

June is Men’s Health Month, a national observance used to raise awareness about health care for men and focus on encouraging boys, men and their families to practice and implement healthy living choices.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die 5 years earlier than women. These are other stats that illustrate the need to prioritize men's health.

  • 13% of men aged 18+ are in fair or poor health (2020)
  • 14% of men aged 18+ smoke cigarettes (2020)
  • 41% of men aged 18+ have obesity (2015-2018)
  • 52% of men aged 20+ have hypertension (2015-2018)
  • 13% of men under 65 are without health insurance
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the US
    • Heart disease made about 1 in 4 male deaths in 2019

We close out this Men's Health Month by focusing on spreading awareness about the leading cause of death in men – heart disease.

Heart Disease

What is it and what does it look like?

The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease (CAD), which affects the blood flow to the heart. Decreased blood flow can cause a heart attack. Symptoms of heart disease include:

  • Heart attack. Chest pain or discomfort, upper back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
  • Arrhythmia. Fluttering feelings in the chest (palpitations).
  • Heart failure. Shortness of breath, fatigue, or swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, or neck veins.

Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease.

Know risks

What puts me at higher risk for heart disease?

Sometimes heart disease may be “silent” and not diagnosed until a man experiences signs or symptoms of a heart attack, heart failure, or an arrhythmia. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease. These conditions and lifestyle choices can put men at a higher risk for heart disease:

  • Diabetes
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use

Take action

How can I reduce my risk of heart disease?

To reduce chances of getting heart disease, it's important to do the following:

  • Know your blood pressure. High blood pressure has no symptoms so it’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.
  • Ask about diabetes. Talk to your health care provider about whether you should be tested for diabetes. Having diabetes raises your risk of heart disease.
  • Quit smoking. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, learn ways to quit.
  • Monitor your cholesterol. Discuss checking your cholesterol and triglyceride levels with your health care provider.
  • Eat healthy food. Having overweight or obesity raises your risk of heart disease.
  • Limit alcohol intake to one drink a day.
  • Lower your stress level and find healthy ways to cope with stress.

Throughout this month, we've shared with the public educational messages about sexually transmitted diseases, erectile dysfunction, depression, prostate cancer, high blood pressure, and more. To honor Men's Health Month, please join the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center in heightening awareness of preventable health problems and encouraging early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) & US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH)