ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala --Men’s Health Week legislation was introduced to Congress in 1994. It recognized June 14 through June 20 annually. Observers are encouraged to wear blue on “Blue Monday” to promote men’s health engagement, education, advocacy, and demonstrate interest in the men’s health movement. The purpose of the legislation is to heighten awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases.

Men’s health is age and gender related when studying outcomes and evaluating statistics. As men age, the risks for Type-2 diabetes, colon cancer and gastric ulcers increases. Men need to ensure adequate hydration and proper vitamin and mineral intake in order to potentially reduce these risks. “We want to see someone take care of themselves during their working years so they can enjoy their retirement years,” said Dan Robertson, occupational health nurse, with 17 years of experience as a preventative care occupational health nurse at the DEAR Clinic at Anniston Army Depot. Robertson emphasized the importance of some key practices in preventative health for everyone.

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“Keep all preventative appointments on-time and up-to-date. Stay well-hydrated, avoid the use of tobacco and vape products, consume alcohol in strict moderation, get quality sleep and be aware of possible sleep apnea,” stated Robertson.

One of the most important aspects of long term mental and physical health is preventative examination and testing. Preventative screenings begin at age 40 and intensify between ages 45-50. Some of these screenings test for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, colorectal cancer, skin cancer, high blood pressure, lipids and cholesterol and blood sugar levels. At times, men may feel intimidated or concerned about scheduling a preventative health exam and testing with their medical provider.

“It can be scary to go to the doctor in the case they find something,” said Mathetta Howard, a prevention coordinator in the Army Substance Abuse Program, with 11 years of experience in the mental health profession. Societal norms create a stigma regarding men’s mental health. “There can also be a stigma with what mental illness looks like. Stereotypes exist in regards to what a man should say or how they feel.”

Physical health goes hand in hand with mental health. Howard emphasized, “It’s more about the aspects of health and wellness to support mental health.” Howard stressed the importance for men to understand their body, adhere to advice and recommendations by their healthcare provider and actively practice well-balanced dieting. Howard discussed being mindful of a well-balanced diet, “As the Army says, “Junk in, junk out!” Your mental health is effected by the choices you make in your diet just as your physical health would be effected.

Sleep is another key component to a healthy lifestyle. Be conscious of the amount of sleep you are getting each night. Howard stressed, “It is important to sleep and get a restful night of sleep.” It is important to seek advice and diagnosis from your healthcare provider if you have issues related to sleeping habits.

Robertson discussed the importance of identifying and treating sleep apnea, “Sleep apnea is a killer, if not treated. It takes years off our lives. Sleep apnea is an expanding science that is receiving more and more funding.”