Men’s Health Month in June encourages early detection and treatment of disease among men. Also, the event encourages awareness of preventable health problems for men and boys.
Research shows that men are less likely to see the doctor, especially if they do not have symptoms. As a result, men are more likely to be diagnosed with a disease or illness in its later stages. This delay often makes treatment more complicated.
Read More: How to Keep Your Mind Sharp as You Age
Numbers Tell the Story for Men’s Health Month
Men are 3 times more likely than women to avoid doctors for 5 or more years. (Centers for Disease Control (CDC). More than half of all men did not have a physical or cholesterol test in the previous year. (Survey conducted by the Commonwealth Fund). Up to 60% of men are unlikely to seek medical care, even when they believe they are seriously ill.
According to a Harris Poll survey for the American Academy of Family Physicians:
- 90% of men do not seek care or advice right away but wait before seeking treatment
- 38% of men only seek care when they are incredibly sick or when they do not get better on their own
- 55% of men had not seen a doctor for a physical exam within the last 12 months
- Of this group, 40% had one or more chronic health conditions
- 40% of men follow their doctor’s advice 100% of the time
- 58% follow their doctor’s advice 50 to 75% of the time
Cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and hypertension are higher in men than women. Notably, 80% of all sudden-death cases due to unrecognized heart disease happen to men.
The Benefit of Being Proactive About Health
The message for Men’s Health Month is that men can have better health with routine doctor’s visits and screenings.
Here is why being proactive about health matters:
- Men are more likely to be hospitalized or die from preventable conditions without regular doctor visits
- Men’s sexual health is most likely affected by dangerous substances and the natural aging process
- Routine checkups and screenings are linked to better longevity and health in men
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to prevent or manage many common health problems in men
The Importance of Proactive Health for Senior Men
It is especially important for senior men to seek preventative health services. Why? Because as bodies age, hormones change, impacting fat distribution and muscle mass. Nutrients are processed differently. Many men are at increased risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes as they age.
Here are some of the screening tests recommended by Johns Hopkins for men over the age of 65:
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Blood pressure
- Colorectal Cancer
- Diabetes mellitus, type 2
- Lipid disorders
In addition, up to 50% of Americans who live to age 65 will have at least one skin cancer. Caucasian men are particularly at risk. Take steps to prevent further damage from the sun as well as get screened regularly for signs of skin cancer.
Your Primary Care Physician Can Help
It may seem like a lot to manage. However, get regular check-ups and develop a relationship with your primary care physician (PCP). These are some of the best ways to improve the chances for early detection of chronic illnesses. The result is better health outcomes.
PCPs manage the full scope of health factors and work with patients to create action plans for better health. In addition, they monitor and keep track of changes to health and ensure continuity of care. Because they know your personal health history, they are better able to manage your overall health, even with multiple conditions.
One in three seniors sees at least five doctors a year. As a result, your PCP can act as the go-between for different specialists, helping to manage appointments, referrals and prescriptions.
Men’s Health Month (anytime, really!) is a great time to take charge of your health! Establish a relationship with a PCP who can get to know you and help you meet your health care goals. Make an appointment with a Healthcare Network provider capable of coordinating healthcare needs that come with aging. Click here to get started.
About the Author
Dr. Corin DeChirico is vice president of medical staff and chief medical officer for Healthcare Network.