A lot of men seem to have a “so what” attitude when it comes to their health and keeping up with routine check-ups. Statistically speaking, men are less likely to visit a doctor than women. This can be due to societal norms telling men they need to just “tough it out,” not wanting to talk about what is wrong with them or downplaying their symptoms.

However, a lot of the health conditions and diseases that men deal with can be treated or even prevented if found early. So, in order for us men to start taking better care of ourselves, we have to understand the risk factors and where we can improve our health. The most common conditions affecting men are heart disease, prostate, testicular and colon cancer, and osteoporosis. So, I challenge you to find out if any of these conditions are in your family history and ask a doctor what your risks are at your current state of health. This way, you can know exactly what to look for and how to prevent these risks.

However, your health doesn’t stop at your physical appearance. The same reasons men don’t see a doctor are the same reasons that can also lead to men secretly suffering from depression and anxiety or other mental health issues and even substance abuse. (Men are more likely to smoke and drink alcohol than women.)

Over 6 million men suffer from depression every year but it goes undiagnosed because men report feeling fatigued or irritable rather than sad or worthlessness. Us as a community and society have to make a change about this. We all need to understand that a man going to a doctor is “tougher” than not doing anything for your health at all. In the end, we want to stick around as long as we can and enjoy the great things that life gives us – it all starts with how we treat ourselves.

Happy Men’s Health Week and take care of yourself so you can be there for your loved ones!