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Men: are you a good health role model? June is the month to remember why you should be

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The Alabama Department of Public Health is joining in the celebration of June as National Men’s Health Month and June 15-21 as National Men’s Health Week by encouraging men to take steps to become healthier, stronger and make their health a priority.

The purpose of this annual observance is to heighten awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Regrettably, men’s health is often overlooked and their symptoms are often ignored.

On average, men live five fewer years than women and die at higher rates. Men make up 92 percent of workplace deaths, mainly because they are employed in dangerous occupations. Furthermore, 1 in 6 men will get prostate cancer and approximately 28,000 will die from the disease this year.

State Health Officer, Dr. Donald Williamson said, “Risks to the health and well-being of men are on the rise, due to a lack of awareness and a failure to pursue preventive screening and care. Men are often the family breadwinners, and because of their jobs and lifestyle, forget or postpone making their own health a priority. I encourage all men to become positive role models in their families and communities by setting the example of eating right, exercising regularly, and getting routine medical checkups."

Heart disease, cancer and accidents are leading causes of death in Alabama men, and there are lifestyle changes that can help lower risk. The following are some important steps men can take to improve their health and stay healthy:

· Quit using tobacco
· Get enough sleep
· Increase physical activity
· Eat healthy food
· Tame stress
· Schedule regular checkups
· Keep track of your readings for blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol and follow your health care provider’s recommendations
· Get vaccinated to stay healthy

Some diseases and conditions may not have symptoms, so checkups can help diagnose health issues before they can become problems. Men should pay special attention to signs and symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, excessive thirst, and problems with urination. If you have these or other symptoms, be sure to see your doctor right away.

Men’s Health Week in Alabama is celebrated each year as the week leading up to and including Father’s Day. Governor Robert Bentley has issued a proclamation observing this week in Alabama.