June is here, the first month of summer! We have Men’s Health Awareness Week coming up this month so let’s talk about it. Men’s Health Week was created in 1994 by congress to help raise awareness of preventable health problems, as well as early detection and treatment of diseases commonly found among men and boys. This event is about celebrating men and encouraging them to care for their bodies and become aware of preventable diseases. The week occurs this year from June 14th through the 20th, which also happens to fall on Father’s Day. This week is used to raise awareness, spread education, and create knowledge on how to improve the state of men’s health. People acknowledge this event by using a blue ribbon as its’ symbol.
Yes, EVERYONE needs to pay special care and attention to our health. However, sometimes there is a stigma that men are not likely to face certain diseases or illnesses simply due to the fact they are male. For Men’s Health Awareness Week, here are the top 9 health risks for men according to Healthline:
1. Heart Health: Gum disease (periodontitis) is often linked with an increased chance of developing heart disease. Also, poor dental hygiene runs a higher bacterial infection risk in the bloodstream affecting heart valves. [Salinas, DDS. November 2020, Mayo Clinic]
2. Respiratory Disease: Like how gum disease affects the heart, bacteria and germs from poor dental hygiene can also get inhaled into the lungs. This can exacerbate existing medical conditions and lead to other lung problems [American Thoracic Society].
3. Alcohol and/or Substance Abuse. Different alcohols and drugs adversely affect the body differently, here are the highlights [Oral Health Foundation]:
Wine, Beer, Ciders – these tend to be highly acidic drinks that can lead to erosion of tooth enamel. The first sign of this tends to be tooth sensitivity or pain.
Hard Liquor (Spirits) – the high alcohol content leads to dry mouth. This can cause dehydration and excessive plaque buildup.
Mixers and Alcohol Pops – these tend to be loaded with sugar. We all know that can be a tasty way to welcome tooth decay!
Drugs – many cause sugar cravings. Sugar mixes with the saliva and bacteria in our mouth to create plaque. Plaque left sitting on our teeth for a long time can then dissolve the enamel leading to cavities.
Heroin and Meth – these cause dry mouth by reducing saliva flow. Chronic dry mouth can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Cocaine and Ecstasy – the jaw-clenching these drugs cause often leads to headaches, jaw pain, and cracked teeth.
4. Depression: Depression is a mental health disorder that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Did you know canker sores can be triggered by stress and dietary deficiencies? When depression and anxiety strike, it’s easy to forget to brush our teeth regularly and eat frequent healthy meals.
5. Unintentional Injuries/Accident
6. Liver Disease: Any condition that damages the liver and prevents it from functioning well. Common risk factors of liver disease include heavy alcohol use, obesity, type 2 diabetes, sharing needles, exposure to other people’s bodily fluids, and family history of the disease. [Mayo Clinic]
7. Diabetes: Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not process food for use as energy. It is a disease in which your blood glucose or blood sugar levels are too high. Did you know that diabetic patients with gum disease have an easier time controlling their blood sugar levels? [Mouth Healthy ADA]
8. Influenza and Pneumonia: This is lung inflammation caused by a bacterial infection, which fills the air sacs in the lungs with puss and may become solid over time. Those bacteria could very well come from poor dental hygiene.
9. Skin Cancer: Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells. It develops in areas that are mostly exposed to the sun. It’s summer, but everyone can benefit from wearing sunscreen 365 days a year!
Did you notice much of the list is preventable? A healthy body and a healthy mind work in conjunction with one another. You’re worth the effort it takes to create new, healthy habits to live a long life. Today is the perfect time to start!