Prioritize Yourself During Men’s Health Month

Close up of three smiling African American men

Guys, have you checked in with your family doctor lately? If not, make a point to this month.  

Change It Up for Better Health

Men’s Health Month in June is a nudge to start – or increase – healthier habits. 

How to begin? Make an appointment with your family doctor for a regular checkup. Commit to a reasonable exercise program with a couple of friends or family members. And take a tip from the popular Mediterranean lifestyle to enjoy meals and companionship with those you love.

Guy Things

Why is prioritizing your health important? According to the U.S. Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health, U.S. men, on average, die nearly six years earlier than U.S. women. They’re also at higher risk for serious illnesses, including heart disease, lung cancer and HIV.  

Heart disease. This accounts for one of every four male deaths in the U.S. High blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease, is more prevalent in younger men than other genders. Checking your blood pressure every day is important. Blue Cross Blue Shield provides a free blood pressure monitor as part of its hypertension management program to members older than 18 with a physician’s note.

Certain cancers. Men age 50+ are at the highest risk of developing skin cancer due to more sun exposure and fewer visits to their doctors. MHealthy offers sound guidance regarding skin cancer detection, as well as protecting the skin you're in

Other cancers are more likely, as well. Sixteen percent of men uses tobacco, making them prone to developing cancers of the lung, tongue and throat. U-M's Tobacco Consultation Service is a good resource for those trying to quit or reduce tobacco use. And a free, national program called Freedom From Smoking can help you succeed in quitting for good.  

Alcohol-related disease. Because excessive alcohol use also is linked to unpredictable behavior, it factors into another risk – unintentional injuries, especially during the summer. Challenge yourself to reduce your alcohol consumption, or stop entirely. MHealthy can help you get started and stay the course

Mental and emotional health conditions: In recent years, life has become more stressful. And that's led to more people experiencing mental health challenges than ever before. Men are less likely to seek help, while being four times as likely to self-harm. 

If you could use some help, start small with a quick mental health screening. Mental health services are covered in U-M’s Health PlansMHealthy also offers numerous resources and programs for the U-M community. And if you feel an immediate need, there is immediate help.  

Prostate conditions. In the U.S., nearly one in six men will develop prostate cancer during their lifetimes. Others may be affected by conditions such as enlarged prostate and prostatitis. Prostate screening is covered with no copay through U-M Health Plans as part of an annual exam.

DiabetesMen are more likely than women to develop diabetes at lower weights because they usually carry excess pounds in their torso. Men also are slower to be diagnosed with prediabetes, a precursor to type-2 diabetes. Since uncontrolled diabetes puts men at risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, erectile dysfunction, and circulatory problems, early detection and treatment is crucial.

Take a 60-second quiz (with puppies!) to determine if you’re eligible for free Diabetes Prevention Programs through U-M Health Plans. 

Help from MHealthy

MHealthy offers a number of programs to boost your physical and mental health, whether it’s virtual meditation or an exercise classtobacco cessation program or ergonomic consultation to improve your comfort while working.

There’s an alcohol management program, as well, to help assess your habits, whether your goal is to reduce consumption or stop entirely.

More Resources

Attention to a healthy lifestyle begins by establishing a relationship with a family doctor. Check the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or the Physicians Health Plan provider directories to find one in your plan network.

Establishing a baseline will help you and your doctor set goals for a healthier future. Here’s a complete list of screenings for all ages covered through U-M’s Health Plans.

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