Future Healthy: No, we didn't forget about No-Shave November

Movember… No-Shave November… Even at the end of the month, you're probably still hearing these terms from time to time. In case you don't know what either of these are, the goal for both is to raise awareness for men's health issues. Movember is designed to raise awareness about issues in general, No-Shave November is more focused on helping to educate about cancer prevention. Both are gaining steam as an annual event.

While this column is usually focused on long-term retirement planning, we also want to remind people about the "health" portion of their health savings accounts. And helping to raise awareness about issues specific to men's health is important.

You'd want your husband, father, son, or other friends and family members to stick around for a long time, so encourage them to understand some of the health risks specific to them.

What are some men's health risks?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that affects your mood when the season changes - typically starting in the continuing into the winter months. You may want to brush it off as a case of the "winter blues" where you're just in a funk, but SAD goes deeper than that.

Some of the seasonal affective disorder symptoms include:

  • Having low levels of energy
  • Oversleeping or insomnia
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or having frequent thoughts of death
  • Constantly feeling sluggish and agitated
  • Having a hard time concentrating
  • Losing interest in any and all activities

As for causes, it could be one or a combination of things. Sometimes it's a biological reaction to the level of sunlight during season changes. What could happen is that your serotonin levels - a neurotransmitter that affects your mood - drop and lead to SAD. It could also disrupt melatonin levels, which helps your body regulate mood and sleep.

Colorectal cancer - a term that includes both colon and rectal cancer - is the second leading cause of death in men when it comes to cancer. Research shows that the lifetime chances of men developing colon cancer is 1 in 22 for men. It doesn't sound like a lot, but you don't want to be a part of that statistic, do you?

Skin cancer - According to the American Academy of Dermatology, men are more likely to die from melanoma than women. The older you get, the rate increases - men are three times more likely to develop some sort of skin cancer by the time they reach 80.

It's not a matter of using sunscreen. Researcher believe that men's skin are more likely to develop cancer because of their skin. Research shows that men's skin has more elastin and collagen, making it more susceptible to skin damage.

Go get tested

Here's a sobering statistic - by 2030, the number of new cancer cases is expected to go up to 23.6 million. It may seem inconvenient (and frankly uncomfortable) to go schedule a doctor's appointment and get a checkup, but it really is worth it. Your health is at stake.

The best case scenario? You have nothing to worry about. Even if your doctor does detect something, hopefully it's caught early and you'll receive plenty of help. In short, if you haven't schedule your yearly physical yet, now's the time to do it.

Next week, we'll get back to more-traditional discussions about financial wellness. But it's always good to be reminded of what those HSA dollars are for, and how important your health is for a prosperous retirement.

Whether it's for covering medical expenses, or planning bigger investments, our Future Healthy column will help support your path to retirement, no matter where you are on the journey. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to check out our HSA Learning Center, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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