When it comes to our health, it seems women are more apt to see a doctor when something is wrong, whereas men will avoid an appointment at all costs until the situation becomes serious. In fact, men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor in the past year, according to recent U.S. Government statistics. For an African American or Hispanic male, the odds of having seen a doctor are even lower. The same for men ages 18 to 44.
- June is National Men’s Health Month. Do you know what percentage of adult males are at risk? The following statistics were taken from the CDC:
- Percent of men 18 years and over who met the 2008 federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic activity through leisure-time aerobic activity: 53.6%
- Percent of men 18 years and over who had 5 or more drinks in 1 day at least once in the past year: 31.4%
- Percent of men 18 years and over who currently smoke cigarettes: 21.2%
- Percent of men 20 years and over who are obese: 34.6%
- Percent of men 20 years and over with hypertension: 31.6%
Are these statistics surprising? When you avoid the doctor, you miss out on important health screenings that may catch something early on before it progresses to a more serious health threat. Also, just because you may feel fine doesn’t mean that you are fine. High cholesterol and high blood pressure, among other conditions, can worsen if left untreated. Men are much more likely than women to need hospitalization for conditions that could have been prevented with regular health screenings.
On average, women live about five years longer than men. Could men's avoidance of doctors and routine checkups have something to do with that? Something to keep in mind is that doctors have heard it all, so there’s no reason to be embarrassed about bringing up any and all health issues with your doctor. It could save your life!
If you’re still feeling uneasy, it’s always good to have a game plan. Start by scheduling a check-up and don’t hold back about anything that’s been bothering you. Be screened and take any medications as prescribed. Create healthful habits and brush up on old ones – limit your alcohol consumption, exercise and eat as many healthy, whole foods as possible. After you check these off your list, give yourself a little pat on the back for taking all the right steps toward a longer and healthier life!