Fellas, we have to talk.
It’s been known for a while that a man’s life span is shorter than a woman’s by 5-10 years, on average. But did you also know that men are much more likely than women to die of the top 10 killers? Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, pneumonia even… men are more likely than women to succumb to each of these. Now, I know many women who would like to attribute this as a sign of us being the stronger sex, and there is some difference in basic biology to explain this discrepancy; however, newer research is showing that one of the largest causes of earlier death in the male population is caused by the plain, simple fact that men don’t go to the doctor.
Men by and large also participate in riskier behavior: smoking, drinking, drug use, all are more prevalent among men, but even then, the bigger factor is that men do not seek medical help until it is often too late to reverse serious damage.
So, what’s up guys? You know we love you, right? And I’m sure you love one another, too, and don’t wish for your father, brother, son, friend, or partner to be ill unnecessarily. We know you’re tough, we know you can handle the pain, we know you don’t need help, but we do need you, here in our lives, being as healthy and whole as you can be.
June is National Men’s Health Awareness month, and it is a great reminder to assess your health and make any necessary appointments with your health care practitioner.
But that might be the first problem. Nearly 25% of men admit that they do not have a regular person whom they go to routinely for medical care (compared to 10% of women). And even more men admit that even when they go to a practitioner, they feel uncomfortable talking about all that ails them.
Admittedly, finding a practitioner can be daunting. Always remember, that you are the paying customer, and you deserve to be treated with care and respect. If you feel it doesn’t “click” with the person treating you, it is 100% acceptable to find someone else. Many practitioners offer free 15min phone consultations. Ask your friends whom they see and what they like about their practitioner. Make a list for your self of necessary qualities: Do they take your insurance? Are they personable? What was their training? Do you feel respected and listened to? Do you understand their explanations for treatments?
The best time to choose a practitioner is when you are well; this way you can be sure to find the person that really fits, and they can get to know you when you are well…not the sick you. This gives the practitioner a baseline from which to work with. Screening blood work can be done to check for blood sugar, liver and kidney function, cholesterol, some vitamin and perhaps hormone levels. Important screens like blood pressure, testicular, and prostate cancer can also be done. And the best practitioner can help you look at your lifestyle and help make a plan to keep you being the healthiest and happiest you.
So to our dear brothers, sons, fathers, partners, and friends who are guys…we love you. Taking care of yourself and keeping as vital and well as you can be to stay in our lives as long as possible…well, that’s the best gift ever.
This June make one appointment with a health care practitioner.
Real men take care of themselves!