By Andrea Mau
Web Content Contributor
There tends to be a focus on women’s health purely because of the array of controversial healthcare needs which affect them almost exclusively, but this often overshadows the health issues men face today.
The standard put on boys and men to appear untouchable only enforces the taboo factor of men’s health. But men are just as affected by bodily and mental changes as women and should be informed of how to best take care of themselves just the same.
The mentality that men can not show vulnerability has undoubtedly caused many health concerns to be brushed off to save face and time. But those bodily or mental matters will stack up and lead to eventual poor overall health and even death.
In 2018, 33% of men aged over 20 in the US had hypertension, while the leading cause of death was heart failure. If that is the number of reported cases, just how many cases could possibly be undiagnosed?
Health issues pertaining almost exclusively to men such as low testosterone and prostate or testicular cancer are just a few health concerns which should be more common knowledge and checked for in men of all adult ages.
All of those diagnoses have a myriad of symptoms and side-effects. Male infertility is a big concern in such cases and compounding issues with cancer can lead to the spread in other parts of the body and organs.
Unlike how the general public expects, men should also be held accountable for their sexual health. Because it is more acceptable for men to have sex with multiple partners, this puts them more at risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
Men also need to be informed on the importance of contraceptives and their responsibility for the consequences of unprotected sex. Men are too often let off the hook in terms of care for their child(ren) but will have to face legal obligations to the mother and child(ren) anyway.
Better information on male contraceptives and wider access to condoms may reduce the unfortunate statistic that the United States has the highest percentage (23%) of single-parent households in the world.
Along with the increased spread of knowledge on sexual health, more positive role models and standards for men should be set to shift perspectives and expectations of fathers and their responsibilities to their families.
All of these health needs are especially neglected during a time like COVID when everyone is hesitant to make a hospital visit. The issue is even more heightened around topics like mental wellness. Right now, everyone is struggling to reign in their stress and sense of isolation after social distancing since March to protect ourselves’ and our family’s health.
However, without daily interaction to check up on individuals, mental health decline is less detectible, particularly among men. Substance abuse caused by mental illness is just one example of how states of mind can escalate into physical harm quickly. This goes back to the standard of American men to always be mentally and physically strong which adds to the pressure to cover up disorders.
As a society, we must destigmatize getting help for the health concerns of any individual. Every living thing will face a health problem and the only thing one can do in the meantime is properly prepare for it. Rather than denying the health issues of certain populations, communities need to promote the importance and normalcy of check-ups.
Featured Image by Andrea Mau