Men’s facial hair helps raise awareness
Men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year and are 22 percent more likely to have neglected their cholesterol tests, according to the Agency for Health Care Quality & Research. Additionally, men are 32 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for long-term complications of diabetes and are more than twice as likely as women to have a leg or foot amputated due to complications related to diabetes.
Despite these facts, it’s not always an easy sell to get men to their annual check-ups. The recent popularity of “Movember” helps to engage men in this worthy cause, but men still need to take charge.
“Men need to take a more proactive role in their own health care,” says Dr. Adam Rubinstein, an internal medicine physician with Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. “Too often in my practice, I see male patients who haven’t been to a doctor in years, and they come to me with medical issues that could have been prevented with very simple measures early on.”
“Most men aren’t aware that health risks change as they get older. They think that if they exercise a few times a week, they’re fine,” Dr. Rubinstein says. “But the reality is that a man’s health risks for certain diseases change as they get older.”
Men’s health isn’t just about men, though, he says.
“It’s important for women to get involved in the health of their brothers, fathers, husbands and sons,” Dr. Rubinstein says. “We know that women are the primary health care decision-makers. So it’s helpful for women to get involved and really encourage men to get regular check-ups.”
Dr. Rubinstein also recommends that men learn what screenings are important for each stage of their lives.
“Generally speaking, men in their 20s need to be aware of issues such as testicular cancer, cholesterol and sexually transmitted diseases. While men in their 50s need to be aware of colorectal cancer, diabetes and prostate health,” he says. “But annual check-ups and screenings can go a long way in preventing issues.”
Click here for a comprehensive guide to screenings for men at every stage of life.
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