There are several theories as to the origin of the name for the month of June. Some believe it was named after the Roman goddess Juno, the goddess of marriage and the wife of the supreme deity Jupiter.
Others believe it comes from the Latin word “Juniores,” meaning “younger ones,” as compared to “Maiores” or “elders,” for which the month of May was named. I would tend to agree with the latter theory, and even more so as I get older.
Though my body may be aging, I still want to stay “young at heart.” Recognizing that Father’s Day falls in June, it only makes sense that June is also “Men’s Health Awareness Month.”
It is a time to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injuries unique to men. Although males outnumber females at birth (115 males for every 100 females), American men live sicker lives and die younger, on average, five years earlier than American women.
So which is the weaker sex? Men have a higher incidence of heart disease, cancer, injuries, stroke and suicide than women. According to the CDC, Women are 100 percent more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men.
So a great place to begin reversing these poor statistics men is to start by visiting your friendly healthcare provider on a regular yearly basis and to adopt preventive health measures.
One health issue unique to men is erectile dysfunction, also referred to as ED. About 70 percent of the time, ED is caused by an underlying problem in the vascular system.
It is often called the “canary in the coal mine” or the “canary in the trousers.” Since ED is a blood flow issue where the arteries are becoming clogged so they don’t work as they should, it might be an early sign that the same artery-clogging process is happening in the vessels to the heart or brain, which increases the risk for a heart attack or stroke.
If one area’s blood supply is faulty, it makes sense that other areas might be affected too. Those experiencing ED have a much higher chance of suffering a heart attack, and thus ED is a warning sign that changes need to be made.
Other health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and drug or alcohol abuse also increase the risk for ED.
Less common causes of ED are stress, anxiety, depression and sometimes medications. Treating the underlying causes for clogging of the arteries can help reverse ED and decrease the risk for more life-threatening conditions.
Prostate cancer is another concern for men. The most recent (2018) U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommendation urges men to talk to their healthcare providers about when, or if, they need to be screened for prostate cancer using the Prostate Specific Antigen screening test.
They recommend selectively offering PSA testing to individuals based on professional judgment and patient preferences for men ages 55-69.
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men ages 15-35. It can be successfully treated if detected early enough.
The main symptom will be a lump in or enlargement of either testicle. Some may experience a feeling of pulling or unusual weight in the scrotum or pain and discomfort in the testicle.
The best way to find testicular cancer is by doing a regular monthly self-examination, feeling for any lumps in the testicles.
To quote Congressman Bill Richardson, “Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.”
May we strive to remain “young” with healthy lifestyle habits and preventive health measures.
Dr. Kenneth D Rose is a general surgery specialist in Enterprise and a graduate with honors from Loma Linda University School Of Medicine.