June, MEN'S HEALTH Month

June is men's health month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about early detection and treatment of health conditions that proportionally affect men and boys. To do so, we are looking at the health hurdles experienced by men and boys, as well as some possible solutions we can implement in the healthcare system to help improve men's health. We aim to provide insight into men's global health issues, including cardiovascular disease, mental health, and cancer.

Cardiovascular Disease

Heart disease accounts for 13 % of all deaths in sub-Saharan Africa (10). In the United States of America, 1 in 4 adult men dies due to cardiovascular diseases (11). In comparison, South African men are more likely to die from ischaemic heart disease with a 3.0% mortality rate and women at 2.7% (14). Factors that make men more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases include lifestyle choices such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

According to the CDC, evidence-based best practice for cardiovascular prevention includes; team-based care, which involves two or more healthcare multidiscipline practitioners addressing cardiovascular disease according to their fields, such as a pharmacist, dietician, general practitioner and cardiologist. The collaboration would enable timely identification of risk factors, patient education, effective disease management and self-care. For example, patients can self-monitor and record their blood pressure outside clinical settings with their approved devices(15). At a policy level, governments should regulate the cost of cardiovascular treatments, incentivise healthy lifestyles and implement support systems to improve treatment adherence(13).

Mental Health in Men

According to a report from the South African Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP), South Africa is ranked 10th on the list of countries with the most suicides. The data shows that women's suicide rate as 9.8 per 100,000 people and men's as 37.6 per 100,000 people (9