Since 1994, Men’s Health Month has been dedicated to promoting health awareness amongst men. Each June, recognized professionals — including healthcare workers and policymakers — seek to promote health-conscious messages centered around the various health risks and challenges men face throughout their lifetime.
According to Harvard Health, men are more likely than women to:
- Drink alcohol and use tobacco
- Make risky choices
- Visit the doctor less regularly
Many working professionals find that obstacles to their physical and mental health can build up in the workplace. To alleviate this, we’ve researched the top 8 leading men’s health issues in the U.S., along with specific ways you can address them at work.
#1: Cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular disease can refer to a variety of conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels, including heart disease, heart attack, and heart failure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for men from most racial or ethnic groups.
Heart-healthy workplace tip: A healthy diet and sufficient, moderate exercise is the way to win here. Eat a healthy lunch that’s packed with rich nutrients from fruits and vegetables. If you sit at your desk most of the day, you can also use a part of your lunch break to do 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise.
#2: Unintentional injuries
Recent research has shown that unintentional injuries are the third leading cause of death for men, and men are twice as likely to experience unintentional injuries than women. Accidental injuries are highly preventable and typically encompass motor vehicle accidents, drug overdoses, and falls. In the workplace, men disproportionately occupy higher-risk jobs in various industries, such as fishing, mining, and construction.
Safety-first workplace tip: This tip is geared toward management and operations, as workplace safety mostly relies on these two groups. To prevent fatal or nonfatal workplace incidents, implement extensive safety protocols, carry out regular and thorough safety training, and conduct pre-placement physicals.
#3: Lung cancer
The American Lung Association warns more men are diagnosed with lung cancer every year. Worldwide, lung cancer is the most common form of cancer, and it is the leading cause of death from cancer for both men and women.
The Mayo Clinic warns that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, as inhaling cigarette smoke damages the cells that line the lungs. With repeated exposure — i.e., regular smoking —, the cells that line your lungs are increasingly damaged, and the chances of reversing that damage becomes less and less likely.
Breathe-easy workplace tip: Smoke breaks in the workplace are common, given that many people smoke to alleviate workday stressors. It’s completely understandable to feel overly stressed at work from time to time. You are entitled to breaks throughout the day, but why not put your breaks to better use? Consider moving your legs to grab a good cup of coffee or see if your company has a meditation or quiet room that you can spend some time in.
#4: Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer amongst men, and researchers are still studying the disease to understand its origins more. This form of cancer typically grows slowly and is initially confined to the prostate gland, but it can also grow quickly and aggressively in some patients.
Pro-workplace tip: Although it’s currently unclear what causes prostate cancer, medical professionals agree that maintaining a healthy weight through a good diet and exercise is one of the best preventive methods. Outside of the workplace, you should also keep the lines of communication with your doctor open, as early detection is vital.
Diabetes, which occurs when your body can’t use or produce insulin, is also linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In men, diabetes can also result in urologic issues, including overactive bladder syndrome and urinary tract infections (UTIs). The CDC also states that men are slightly more likely than women to develop diabetes. For men at risk of type 2 diabetes, prevention is possible.
Sweet-and-balanced workplace tip: One of the critical factors in preventing type 2 diabetes is reducing excess sugar intake. So, instead of sugary carbonated beverages at lunch or candies at your desk or in the cab, consider only drinking water at work. You can also satisfy your sweet-tooth cravings with healthy and tasty snacks, like apples and peanut butter.
Many times, depression in men goes undiagnosed, and societal standards are often to blame. Men are more reluctant to discuss depression symptoms and are more likely to partake in escapist behavior, like spending excess time at work, to avoid confronting their feelings. A comprehensive survey by Mind Share Partners concluded that less than 30% of employees feel comfortable talking to their managers about their mental health.
Mind-healthy workplace tip: With this survey in mind, helping men cope with depression in the workplace can often also start with management. While some companies are encouraging mental health days as one approach to combatting mental health issues, fostering a workplace that promotes work-life balance and open communication can also help tremendously.
#7: Liver disease
Liver disease can be inherited genetically or develop through controllable factors, including excess alcohol use and obesity. Damage to the liver can result in liver cirrhosis, and this can lead to life-threatening liver failure over time.
Happy-hour workplace tip: Due to factors like body size and body fat, men metabolize and can clear alcohol quicker than women. Still, medical professionals recommend that men should limit their alcoholic drinks to a maximum of three or four. So, the next time you join your coworkers for a workplace happy hour, keep your liver happy, too.
Viral pneumonia typically develops from respiratory viruses, including the flu and the common cold, and results in inflammation of the lungs. Pneumonia is a leading health concern for men. While viral pneumonia is generally milder than bacterial pneumonia — which occurs in a hospital setting —, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and protect yourself and your workplace surroundings.
Immunity-boosting workplace tip: As pneumonia typically can more likely cause complications amongst people with weakened immune systems, men should take proactive measures to strengthen their immunity. In the workplace, this includes washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to prevent a viral infection.
There you have it! We hope you keep staying healthy in the workplace and everywhere else, fellas! For more reading, check out our blog post on heart-healthy tips for truck drivers.