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NIAMS National Multicultural Outreach Initiative
June is National Men’s Health Month
What is National Men’s Health Month?
National Men’s Health Month is an opportunity to raise awareness of health problems that affect men and boys and encourage them to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury.
What are some joint and bone diseases that affect men?
Arthritis, a term that refers to a group of disorders affecting the joints, is one of the most common joint and bone diseases affecting men. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and it often affects the fingers, knees, and hips. While osteoarthritis usually comes with age, sometimes it follows an injury to a joint.
Gout is another form of arthritis that often affects middle-aged men, usually between the ages of 40 and 50. It occurs when too much uric acid builds up in the body and can lead to swelling, redness, heat, pain, and stiffness in the joints. In many people, gout initially affects the joints of the big toe, but other joints and areas around the joints can be affected.
Although many people view the bone disease osteoporosis as a “woman’s disease,” men experience the same rate of bone loss as women by age 65 or 70. Osteoporosis can lead to fractures in the hip, spine, and wrist, and can be permanently disabling.
What can I do to improve my health?
To stay healthy, whether or not you have a joint or bone disease, you can:
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet and drink plenty of water. Ensure a calcium and vitamin D intake that is adequate for your age.
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy body weight. Weight-bearing exercises in which bones and muscles work against gravity are especially helpful to maintain bone health.
- Avoid smoking and reduce alcohol intake.
- See a doctor regularly.
- Tell a doctor about all the medicines and vitamins you take.
- Take the medicines your doctor prescribes as directed.
- If you or a loved one needs to find a free or low-cost health center in your area, the Federal Government can help. Find a free or low-cost health center.
Where can I find out more?
For more information on joint and bone conditions, read these publications from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS):
- Living With Arthritis: Health Information Basics for You and Your Family
- Gout: Easy-to-Read Fast Facts
- Osteoporosis in Men
You can also order these and other topics for free by visiting https://catalog.niams.nih.gov/ or calling toll free at 877–226–4267 (TTY: 301–565–2966). Many publications are also available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.
June Is National Scleroderma Awareness Month
What should I know about scleroderma?
Scleroderma is often referred to as a single disease, but it is actually a symptom stemming from a group of diseases. Scleroderma describes the abnormal growth of connective tissues that support your skin and internal organs. In some forms of scleroderma, the skin can become hard and tight, while in other forms, it can go much deeper and affect blood vessels and internal organs, such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys. Because it covers a range of diseases, scleroderma affects different people in different ways.
How can I manage scleroderma?
Because scleroderma covers a range of diseases, it can affect different people in different ways. And while there is no known cure for scleroderma, there are some things you can do to help cope with the condition.
- Pay attention to your body and give your health care provider as much information as possible. This includes any medications you are taking, your lifestyle, and medical history.
- Learn about scleroderma and any related diseases or conditions.
- Consider attending support groups and counseling. They can help you realize that you’re not alone. Group members teach one another how to cope. Family and friends can also provide support.
Where can I find out more?
For more information on scleroderma and related conditions, click or download these easy-to-read publications from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS):
- Scleroderma: Easy-to-Read Fast Facts
- Handout on Health: Scleroderma
- Scleroderma: Summaries of Research
You can also order these and other topics for free by visiting https://catalog.niams.nih.gov/ or calling toll free at 877–226–4267 (TTY: 301–565–2966). Many of these publications are also available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.