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Whether it’s your father, husband, brother, grandfather or son, odds are you have men in your life whom you care about greatly. If there existed a serious threat to their health and safety, wouldn’t you like to know about it?
In honor of Men’s Health Month, here’s a look at the top health risks affecting Utah men.
Despite what popular YouTube videos would have you believe, risky behavior that leads to accidents and injuries is no laughing matter. In fact, the Utah Department of Health cites unintentional injuries as the No. 1 leading cause of death among men of all ages in the state.
Poisoning, motor vehicle traffic crashes, falls, suffocation and natural/environmental exposure topped the list of unintentional injury death in 2015. Using proper equipment, following safety regulations, avoiding distractions and wearing seatbelts and helmets are all simple yet often overlooked steps that could end up preventing long-term disability or death.
As the second-leading cause of death in Utah, cancer continues to be a prevalent problem for men — particularly two different types. A study by the Utah Cancer Registry found that prostate cancer and melanoma were the two most frequent types of cancer found among Utah men.
Some speculate that the reason men suffer from melanoma more frequently than women is that men are less likely to wear sunscreen and more likely to overlook suspicious moles on their skin.
Heart disease and stroke
Although women are at greater risk for heart disease and stroke, these still pose a significant threat for men, as they continue to be in the top five of the leading causes of death in Utah, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Many men think their symptoms are a sign of something else, like heartburn, so they do nothing. Even a man who already had a prior heart attack may not recognize his symptoms, as each attack can be dramatically different.”
While most people are familiar with the classic symptoms of a heart attack — chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea and lightheadedness — men often mistake these symptoms for something else.
“Many men think their symptoms are a sign of something else, like heartburn, so they do nothing,” reports Dr. Peter Ofman, a Steward Health Care cardiologist. “Even a man who already had a prior heart attack may not recognize his symptoms, as each attack can be dramatically different.”
When it comes to chest pain or difficulty breathing, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and call a doctor immediately if you or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms.
The rate of diabetes among Utah men has slowly but steadily increased through the years, according to the CDC. As one of the leading causes of heart disease, diabetes also carries devastating consequences, such as amputation, blindness and renal failure.
Since diabetes is often brought on by obesity, sedentary lifestyles and poor nutrition, making moderate lifestyle changes could significantly lower the risk of developing the disease.
Although experts previously believed more women experienced depression than men, many attribute this to men’s tendency to hide depressed feelings, according to WebMD. Men may be more likely to act out depressed feelings by getting angry and aggressive instead of showing sadness or crying.
If you think you might be depressed, reach out to a medical professional who can offer the help you need.
Many of the top health risks affecting men are preventable. In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, the Utah Department of Health recommends that men take safety precautions while driving or participating in activities that could be potentially dangerous. Living a longer, healthier life could be as simple as wearing a seatbelt or having regular checkups at your doctor’s office.
For the best chance at early detection for certain health risks, schedule an appointment with the health professionals at Steward Health Care today.