June Is Men’s Health Month: New Information
For some reason June is designated as several special “months” (i.e., one month with several special designations). I have no idea who identifies particular months as devoted to particular concerns, issues, celebrations, etc. But I have long known June is, among other things much more visibly celebrated, “Men’s Health Month.” I supposed because Fathers Day falls in June (in the U.S.)
For at least thirty years now women’s health has gotten most of the attention year-around, much to the neglect of men’s health and that because in 1993 congress established the Federal Office for Women’s Health. Medical researchers have told me that it is much, much easier to get funding, both public and private, for research about women’s health than about men’s health. And yet, typically, statistically, men continue to die younger than women. Nobody seems especially concerned about that.
Much of the information I find on the internet about men’s health reports on research conducted outside the U.S. Thank God for them. Some light has been shed even recently on possible reasons why more males than females die in every age group. That is, among all one year olds, more males than females die each year. Among all thirty year olds, more males than females die each year. Every numerical age group—the same phenomenon. Why? Many reasons have been offered, but very little effort has ever been put into settling on a definite answer and addressing the problem.
Recently, the Washington Post published a column by two women health researchers arguing that men’s health is a women’s issue. I’ve been saying that for years, here and in columns in newspapers. When men die relatively young they often leave behind a more impoverished wife and sometimes children.
Recently I stumbled across a to me very interesting and odd fact about men’s health. I was looking at statistics about Covid-19 deaths and discovered that 65,000 more men than women died of covid during the pandemic—in the U.S. alone. Why? Lots of reasons have been offered that put the blame on men.
But the new information I stumbled across while chasing rabbits around the internet (about why more men than women died of covid) is this: medical researchers somewhere, probably outside the U.S., have discovered that as men age many lose their Y chromosome from their blood. The condition is called LOY—“Loss of Y.” Look up this site: “Loss of chromosome Y (LOY) in blood cells is associated with increased risk for disease and mortality in aging in men—PMC.” It’s an article published by the National (US) Institutes of Health. There are many other respected medical web sites that report on the same discovery. As of yet, nobody knows why this happens, but LOY becomes increasingly common among men as they age. And there is a statistical correlation between LOY and disease and mortality.
What I wonder is why this is not reported on in the media? I am certain that if a similar such discovery were made about women’s health, the news media would be reporting on it.
So far there is no treatment for LOY and all I can do is wait and hope for that. Will the researchers find enough money to create a relatively inexpensive test for LOY and treatment for it? That would probably happen if there was a Federal Office for Men’s Health. Some members of the U.S. Congress have filed for it but their bills have been ignored.
Do I have LOY? There’s no way to tell. But, at my age, it is highly possible. Is LOY one reason, perhaps the main reason, why two of my childhood friends, both my age, recently died of “natural causes” (not violence or accidents)? Both left behind widows now receiving less income. Both were still employed but receiving social security. Now their wives are less well-off financially. Men’s health is a women’s issue. When are people going to wake up to that fact?
Now, I must say that I have been occasionally writing about men’s health and boy’s education here and elsewhere for years with very little interest shown about the issue(s) by my readers. In fact, I have experienced some ridicule for it. I soldier on anyway. I hope you find some interest and energy to speak up about it. For example, the clinic where my general practitioner practices talks up “Well Woman Visits” but never talks about “Well Man Visits.” I asked them why and the only thing they could say was that the term for a “Well Man Visit” is a “general physical exam.” When I go for my annual Wellness visit (paid for by Medicare) I make a point of telling them that I am coming for my annual “Well Man Visit.” They just look at me like I have two heads. But why? All of the brochures and posters in the waiting room are about women’s health. I have observed the same in every clinic I have visited for years.
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