Facts About Men’s Health That Might Surprise You

Ok, guys, it’s time we had a talk. Being the “strong, silent type” might be ok in some scenarios, but it’s just not working out when it comes to your health. For some reason, whether it’s because of cultural expectations of men or because men feel like they just don’t have the time, guys aren’t talking about or taking care of their well being as much as they should. In fact, men are 24% less likely than are women to have visited a doctor in the past year, according to the U.S. Department Of Health & Human Services, and studies show that 40% of men only go to the doctor when they think they have a serious medical issue. That means more than half of men aren’t getting regular checkups! Not only that, but more than 50% say their health is not something they talk about. So, since June is Men’s Health Month, we’re going to do the talking for you, and highlight the importance of looking after yourself with these eye-opening facts about men’s health.

Heart Disease Is the Number 1 Killer of Both Men and Women But…

drawing of a human heart with a red circle around it
Fact: Heart disease causes 1 out of every 4 deaths in men.

Yes, we’re now much more open about the fact that heart disease kills just as many women as it does men; in fact, it’s the leading cause of death for both sexes. But it’s still important to know that heart disease causes 1 out of every 4 deaths in men, as well as to know that men often develop heart disease 10-15 years earlier than do women, and are more likely to die of it at a younger age. Other conditions that lead to heart disease like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes are also more common among men. The average age for men for a first heart attack is just 66, so start thinking about your heart health now! That includes eating right and getting enough exercise: after all, if you’re a man with a waist measurement over 37 inches, your risk of heart disease (and diabetes) increases dramatically!

Men Need Their Beauty Sleep, Too

Getting enough sleep is not really about maintaining your looks – it has more to do with the above statistics about men’s tendency to deadly heart conditions. It turns out that men who sleep 7-8 hours a night are around 60% less less likely to have a fatal heart attack than those who sleep 5 hours or less, so turn off your phone and hit the hay!

Not Talking About Men’s Mental Health Can Be Deadly

Again, thinking you have to be the “strong, silent type” isn’t good for anyone’s health – especially not your mental health. We might brush it off as just a stereotype that men have a difficult time discussing their feelings, but this is actually a phenomenon that has been well documented by psychologists. So, unfortunately it seems that men are suffering in silence: the American Psychological Association reports that 30.6% of men (that we know of) have suffered from depression in their lifetime. And not only are men less likely to be treated for mental health issues, they are 3 times more likely that women to die by suicide. It’s time to end the stigma and speak up. black silhouette of a head with white puzzle pieces in it and the black puzzle pieces next to the silhouetteIn addition to talking about mental health, there’s something else men can do to help keep themselves fit in both mind and body: studies show that inactive men are 60% more likely to suffer from depression, so get in your daily dose of exercise. That’s not to say you shouldn’t seek help for any symptoms of depression or other mental health issues, but getting active is always a good idea!

Men Die Younger, But It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way!

Most people have heard the stats by now: on average, men die about 5 years younger than women (cue all the bad jokes). But you know what? It doesn’t have to be that way: men actually have much more of a say in their health than they might think. Studies show that only 30% of a man’s overall health is determined by his genetics, and 70% is controllable through lifestyle. 

For example, in addition to reducing your waist size and getting enough sleep, as mentioned above, choosing to climb 50 stairs or walk 5 city blocks a day could lower your risk of heart attack by 25%. Or, think about your alcohol intake: drinking more than 10 drinks a week almost doubles your risk of type 2 diabetes. We’ll say it again, because we can’t emphasize it enough: eating right and getting enough exercise can make all the difference in your health! And, if you’re not sure where to start, follow the World Health Organization’s guidelines for exercise (75-150 minutes/week of vigorous activity or 150-300 minutes of moderate activity) and know that getting your 5-7 servings of fruit and veggies is as simple as 1 apple, half an avocado, 1 stalk of celery, half a grapefruit, 5 pieces of broccoli.

The Risk of Prostate Cancer is Real

blue ribbon for prostate cancer
Fact: 1 in 8 men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death among men, and, just as there are some cancers specific to women, there are cancers specific to men – and one is extremely common. 230,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, making it the most common cancer among men; in fact, 1 in 8 men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime, which is the same risk that women run for breast cancer. On the bright side, this type of cancer tends to grow slowly, so you have a good chance of catching it early. But that doesn’t mean you should wait to talk to your doctor about testing. Do it! Now!

Erectile Dysfunction Is More Common, and Could Be More Problematic, Than You Might Think

If you think erectile dysfunction (ED) only happens to older men, think again. Approximately 30 million men in the U.S. experience ED, and 52% of men between the ages of 40 and 70 suffer from some form of ED. The condition can be caused by multiple factors, including stress, drug or alcohol use, psychological factors, or smoking, but it can also be a sign of underlying health issues. According to Dr. Judson Brandeis, “Heart disease, high blood pressure and high blood sugar can all cause ED. Finding and treating the cause(s) of your ED can help your overall health and wellbeing.”

When it comes down to it, not speaking out about men’s health isn’t good for anyone, especially since there are so many ways that men can improve their quality of life, both physically and mentally. Some studies show that the average man lives 9 years of their life in poor health, simply because of lifestyle choices and easily preventable issues. But now that you know the real facts about men’s health, you can do something about it! So get out there, spread the word, and get healthy this month, and every month!


Men’s Health: Where to Begin


It’s Men’s Health Awareness Month, and guess what–a majority of men don’t prioritize their health. As a man working on this, I’ve found this problem stems from a low prioritization of our own bodies. We take care of our careers, our family members, and our relationships first, but we place our own physical health last. This even extends to gym-goers and bodybuilders. Sure, we have Crossfit and a mountain of protein supplements, but many people get critically injured with Crossfit, and many of those vitamin supplements are still full of sugar or dairy–things that contribute to poor health.

jogger running for men's health down a street
Jogging is a great way to stay fit. If you don’t like this, swimming, cycling, or rowing are great cardio substitutes.

Statistics show that on average, men die five years earlier than women. This has to mean something, if not a warning sign to take care of ourselves. (Or it’s evidence that women are truly the strong ones, but we won’t get into that here.)

People are dying in droves because of poor health; we just aren’t aware of how bad our habits are. First, we have to look at what exactly is killing us, then we can take steps to prevent it.

What Is Killing Us?

Modern technology has eliminated many threats that killed us even 50 years ago. Unfortunately, these are the main issues that we still have to worry about:

  • Diabetes
  • Suicide from depression
  • Prostate cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease

Not the sexiest list, is it? When men talk about how they want to die, it usually doesn’t involve taking their own life or a sudden heart attack. However, we don’t have threats in contemporary life like wars or fighting off bears. (If we must look at traditional “masculine” ways of dying) Our new enemies are food and mental illness.

doctor doing blood pressure for men's health
It’s better to take preventative measures than to visit a doctor when it’s too late.

Do you know which on this list is killing one-entire-third of Americans? It’s not diabetes, which is what all of our commercials seem to talk about. It’s heart disease. However, we don’t see that on the news. While cardiovascular health is an issue for both men and women, for now, we’ll focus on what men can do to stave off this incredible killer.

Luckily for overall men’s health, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression are connected. Scientists are finding that our gut flora, the bacteria living inside our digestive system, has a role to play in our mental health. So, taking care of what we eat can influence our mental wellbeing. This will simultaneously solve most of these issues except for prostate cancer.

Besides the digestive issues, we really need to start talking about our feelings and teaching these habits in our male children. It’s no longer okay to brush off serious mental illness as stoicism. Masculinity can be just as powerful when we take our emotions in hand and learn to deal with them in healthy ways. 

For the prostate problem, we have another solution here that we think you’ll like.  

So, we know now that the fight for our lives resides on our dinner plates. What’s next?

What Can We Do?

It’s not just our diets; we must get involved with overall well-being. This means not only watching our diets and exercising regularly but also taking our mental health and emotional intelligence in hand. It’s no longer excusable to blame others for our vices. 

This means scheduling doctor visits, both to a physician and a therapist. It also means not eating all those wings and drinking 70 beers (At least not every week, you can keep Superbowl Sunday. We’re not heartless.) While your buddies may look at you funny for ordering a salad every other party, your heart health is more important than fitting in. If they are truly your friends, they’ll support your healthy habits.

man squatting heavy weight and straining for men's health
Lifting weights teaches a good lesson: strive for failure for that is how you improve.

And you should get them involved too! Maybe schedule gym visits all together and work out with fitness in mind, not just huge biceps and washboard abs. While they are nice to look at, your external muscles need to be built well. With so many exercise and men’s health programs out there, you can afford to be choosy. Look into which ones support a whole-body experience and not just getting you ripped as soon as possible. Look for workouts like this one here.

The bottom line for men’s health is this: get to a doctor and ask for a no-nonsense laundry list for what you need to improve your health. Most likely, this is going to involve throwing some green stuff onto your plate and generating a sustainable workout routine at the gym. You can do Crossfit if you want, but seriously be careful with that program. After that, read some books over emotional intelligence, you’ll be surprised at what you can learn. Involve a therapist if you believe professional help is necessary, but most likely, just understanding how you think can make a huge difference. We can make our society a healthier place, as smarter, more aware individuals, and as men.


Are You Partaking in No Shave November?

Stop men dying too young. It happens too often and is not spoken about as it should be- prostate cancer. Men do not like to talk about their health or take action. That is until the Movember Foundation began in Australia in 2003. During Movember, a man or woman can partake in advocating for the benefit of other men. Movember was created in order to raise awareness for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s mental health issues. It is all about focusing on men’s health, finding a cure, and saving a life.


Movember is about raising awareness to men's health and prostate cancer.
Movember is about raising awareness to men’s health and prostate cancer. Growing a mustache and talking about it helps spread awareness.

You will begin to see a number if men growing out mustaches during the month of November. It has become a global known fundraiser that many people partake in now. The objective is for men who participate to  donate their faces and ask their family and friends to sponsor the cause. They then donate the money to the Movember foundation. Women can also participate in the movement by donating to a partner’s campaign, and/or running one of the Mo Sistas runs during November.


The Rules

The rules of Movember are pretty simple.

  1. Sign up at Movember.com
  2. On November 1st, start with a clean shaven face.
  3. Begin growing your mustache, but no beard for the whole month. The mustache is supposed to be the topic of discussion. All other hair on your face should be trimmed or kept to a minimum.
  4. Make your mustache a conversation starter, and share the importance of Movember and why you are doing it. Spread awareness and inspire others to partake in the movement. Discuss the facts about men’s health issues that needs a spotlight: depression, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer.
  5. Send in your donations to the Movember foundation.

The Facts

  • Men are more likely to commit suicide than women, ranging about 75% of suicides in a year are by men.
  • Suicide is the most common death for men under the age of 35.
  • One in eight men will suffer from prostate cancer at some point in their life.
  • Almost 90% of testicular cancer happens to men under the age of 50.

    Too many young men die from depression, prostate and testicular cancer.
    Too many young men die from depression, prostate and testicular cancer. Movember hopes to find the cure and save lives.
  • 9% of men experience depression on a daily basis.

Men’s health is not often spoken about, especially with the focus on women’s breast and ovarian cancer. But since the Movember foundation began, it has been getting a lot of attention, and spreading awareness on men’s health. By the year 2030, the foundation hopes to reduce the number of premature deaths in men by 25%. During the month of November, take part in a great cause to help men around the world from dying too young. Make a difference with a small gesture of growing a mustache, sending in donations, or running in one of the Movember runs near you.