If you are a male, you have most likely seen a doctor out of necessity, but when confronted with specific questions about men’s health you may have some shortcomings.
In searching the wisdom of the Internet on men’s health, it turns out that men are pretty special when it comes to taking health risks. In fact, men are more likely than women to smoke and drink, make unhealthy or risky choices, and put off regular check-ups or seek medical care. Overall, evidence indicates that men ought to pay more attention to their health and well-being.
Because most men understand things relating to cars, an analogy may help to put things into perspective. Statements like, “Your car gets routine check-ups, so should you,” and references to “Men’s Health Tune-up Schedule” might be helpful, but the fact is many men neglect their car’s maintenance. Delaying regular tune-ups of your vehicle, putting off check-ups, and waiting for the oil light to come on to get the oil changed is standard behavior. Bald tires are not replaced until your wife or sister notices and obsesses about your safety.
But what are the real reasons that men do not seek medical care? WebMD cited a number of possible reasons men avoid medical care. Among those reasons were “stoicism, high cost, busy schedules, challenges of getting an appointment or the embarrassing possibility of the digital rectal exam.”
To the relief of many men, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force rejected the idea that the standard annual physical exam is an effective tool for improving the health of patients. They suggest that exams needed to be tailored to the age, health risks and preferences of the patient. If you are a man, you might like this, but do not be surprised if your wife likes the car analogy better.
So, what should men do to maintain good health? It turns out that it’s really quite simple. Most experts agree that men should:
γBe physically active
γKnow your body
γEat a healthy diet
γMaintain a healthy weight
γManage stress levels
γOnly drink alcohol in moderation.
Note that these measures also enhance mental and spiritual wellness, which is important since men have higher suicide rates than women. In addition, it is important to partner with your physician to choose a preventive healthcare program suited to your special needs.
Many of the major health risks that men face, such as colon cancer or heart disease, can be prevented. They also are easier to treat when found early.
To ensure your body continues to be fit and ready, eat healthfully, sleep well, be physically active and follow a preventive maintenance schedule such as:
– Regular blood pressure screenings;
– Cholesterol screenings for all men 35 and up, or 20 and up if there are other risk factors.
– Colorectal cancer screening age 50 and up.
– Tetanus booster every 10 years for men over 50.
– Flu shots every year for men over 50.
– Prostate cancer screenings based on individual factors.
– Diabetes screenings for adults who have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
– Monthly self exam for irregular moles with annual visit to a dermatologist for complete exam.
– The American Cancer Society recommends annual cancer screenings with a testicular exam.
Just as one would educate oneself when it’s time to take care of the car, the same should be done when inquiring about one’s personal health. Learn more about men’s health at Men’s Health MedlinePlus, www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/menshealth.html
National Institutes for Health provides overviews, current news and prevention/screening information on specific conditions related to men’s health to include cancer, low testosterone, depression and more.