Wednesday-Saturday by Appointment

June is Men’s Health Awareness month

By Liza Tangney, L.Ac.

The goal of Men’s Health Awareness Month is to encourage men and boys to take charge of their health with healthy lifestyle decisions.  Basic essentials include schedule regular checkups , eat healthy, be active, avoid tobacco, limit alcohol consumption, manage stress and self-care with acupuncture or massage therapy. 

Diving deeper, three key aspects of Men’s Health are physical, mental, and social connections.  All three play a pivotal role in living a healthy and enriching life.

Self-care for physical: 

  • A good night’s sleep, going to bed early, or a brief mid-afternoon rest/nap.
  • Get moving, active hobbies, or fitness routine
  • A balanced plate, clean diet or fun foods in moderation.
  • Acupuncture, massage therapy, sauna, cold water therapy, etc.

Self-care for mental/mindset:

  • Meditation, Journaling, and/or Reading
  • Personal time
  • Connecting with nature
  • Set goals, find your purpose or passion
  • Ask for help

Self-care for social connections:

  • Family time
  • Connecting with friends
  • Group activities where others are interested in same activity
  • Volunteering for non-profit organizations or other special causes

Men’s Physical Health

man jogs on sidewalk along water

Men are less likely than women to schedule regular checkups and annual exams.  Men are also more likely to not report or ignore symptoms when experienced.  Schedule a wellness visit or annual exam to have your basic screenings and blood/lipid profiles completed.

Recommended Screenings ages 18-39

  • Physical:  check blood pressure, screen for obesity, and assess body composition (waist circumference).
  • Metabolic:  fasting blood sugar and fasting lipid profiles
  • Assessment on risky behaviors:  use of tobacco, alcohol, recreational drugs, anabolic steroids, etc.
  • Update vaccines (Tdap, MMR) STI screening, and family planning counseling.

Recommended Screenings ages 40-65

  • Physical:  check blood pressure, screen for obesity and assess body composition (waist circumference) and prostate exam.
  • Metabolic:  fasting blood sugar, fasting lipid profiles, and estimation of cardiovascular risk.
  • Update vaccines (Tdap, MMR, Shingles), STI screening, and family planning counseling.
  • Cardiovascular screening: based on risks and symptoms, may include stress test or coronary artery calcium score.
  • Cancer screening: based on family history and personal risks; may include prostate, colon, lung and skin exam.
  • Eye exam

Recommended Screenings ages over 65

  • Physical:  blood pressure, height and weight, and waist circumference and prostate exam.
  • Metabolic:  fasting blood sugar, fasting lipid profiles, and thyroid function.
  • Update vaccines (Tdap, MMR, Shingles), STI screening based on risk
  • Cardiovascular screening: abdominal ultrasound, stress test or coronary artery calcium score.
  • Cancer screening:  prostate, colon, lung and skin exam.
  • Osteoporosis:  screening for men over 70, men who lose height over time, or have a low impact fracture.  Fall risk assessment.
  • Eye exam
Atlas statue

Men’s Mental Health

From Greek mythology, the Atlas statue portrays the heavy burden of carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders.  For many men, today’s stressors are to achieve in the quest to get ahead, strategy in career planning, to hold purpose/value in life, to meet family / relationship goals, and reconcile the inner landscape (feelings and attitudes) when things have not gone well couple with feelings of not being able to appear weak and ask for help.

The CDC says the suicide rate among males in 2021 was around four times higher than the suicide rate among females.  Also, men make up almost 80% of all suicides.  Men are more likely to suffer ‘deaths of despair’ including alcoholism, overdose, and suicide.  Men are less likely than women to seek out mental health services.  Living with undiagnosed and untreated mood disorders can result in impaired learning, risk-taking behaviors, use of substances and violence.  In adult men, depression is associated with decreased longevity.

It is important to recognize the Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety.  Please seek help from a licensed health professional to support you in process.

Symptoms of Depression

  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Alcohol
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Aggression
  • Restlessness
  • Feelings of excessive guilt
  • Anger
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Lack of interest
  • Feeling sad or empty
  • Lack of libido
  • Feeling worthless of hopeless
  • Social withdrawal
  • Isolating from family and friends

Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Persistent worrying that is out of proportion to the impact of events
  • Overthinking plans/solutions to all possible worst-case outcomes
  • Perceiving situations/events as threatenting
  • Difficulty handling uncertainty
  • Indecisiveness and fear of making the wrong decision
  • Inability to set aside or let go of a worry
  • Inability to relax,  feeling restless or keyed up or on edge
  • Difficult concentrating or feeling hat your mind ‘goes blank’

Physical signs of Anxiety

  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Muscle tension or muscle aches
  • Trembling, feeling twitchy
  • Nervousness of being easily startles
  • Sweating
  • Nausea, diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome
  • Irritability
Group of men and women of all ages high-fivving after hike

Importance of Social Connection

Maintaining social connection promotes better physical and mental health, eases stress and even promotes a healthier immune system.  Community is Immunity.  Block off time in your schedule to see friends and maintain relationships.  Whether it is on the golf course, the daily gym visits or connecting for biking/hiking trips, adding joy to your life with friends pays dividends when it comes to your health. 

Research shows that people who experience loneliness and isolation are at increased risk of heart disease, dementia, stroke, depression and anxiety. Lacking social connection can even increase the risk of premature death to levels comparable to smoking.