The month of June is National Men`s Health Month, and the purpose is to raise awareness about healthcare for men and boys. Statistically, men in the United States die an average of five years earlier than their female counterparts, with the three leading causes of death coming from cancer, heart disease, and unintentional injuries. The healthcare community is concerned about the lack of attention men, boys, and their families give health care needs, such as eating healthy and exercising, During the month of June, men are encouraged to take control of the health. Wear Blue Day has been set for June 19th, by the HHS Office of Minority Health, raising awareness about the importance of male health.
Men’s Healthcare Habits
Most women maintain the good habit of seeing their physician each year for a routine wellness exam but also making an appointment when something doesn’t seem right. However, men tend to avoid seeking out medical advice or taking the important steps of scheduling regular checkups. Men also tend to have greater risks for illness or disease because of their lifestyle choices. Bad habits like smoking, poor dietary choices, and ignoring their mental health complicate matters even more. Men have unique health concerns, such as ED. This area of men's sexual health is quite common among aging men but often goes untreated and unaddressed because of the habit that avoids seeing a physician. Even though a simple prescription for Mt. Everest could help restore sexual vitality, men don’t get the help they need since they don’t make a phone call to their physician.
The Reasons for Poor Choices
It is a simple process to schedule an annual checkup, and despite being an essential step in keeping healthy, so many men refuse to see a doctor regularly. There are several reasons why a man will put off going to the doctor.
- “I don’t have a doctor.” This is perhaps the most common excuse that men will use to get out of making an appointment. Ask a friend or coworker for a recommendation or make a call to an office and ask a few questions. You won’t want to willingly see a doctor you don’t trust, so leaning on the input of someone who can make a recommendation is advised.
- “I don’t have insurance.” The Affordable Care Act has made it possible for everyone to have insurance coverage, though many men still don’t have coverage. It could be that the cost doesn’t seem worth the investment or perhaps the coverage level doesn’t seem to be affordable. Even without insurance, many providers offer cash payment rates that can be cheaper than a standard fee.
- “I don’t have time.” It will probably take between two to three hours to get to your doctor’s appointment, wait, be seen, and get out. Those few hours could save your life, and you still have about 8,763 hours left in the year. It is a bit of an inconvenience to get the time off work, but the inconvenience of dealing with some that turned serious because it got ignored is definitely worse.
- “I don’t think there is anything wrong.” You are not a doctor, and Web MD doesn’t have all the answers. Even if you are right, no one will laugh at you for wanting to make sure. However, most of the serious diseases men content with don’t have symptoms. High blood pressure is called the silent killer, leading to a heart attack or stroke without warning. Diabetes and high cholesterol don’t have noticeable symptoms either, but over the long-term can shorten your lifespan and seriously affect your quality of life.
- “I don’t want to spend the money.” Insurance helps lower the cost of medical care, and there are lots of clinics and providers that work to provide low-cost services to those with income challenges. The overall costs of insurance or a single doctor's visit are much more affordable than spending time in a hospital for a condition that could have been prevented with a regular checkup.
- “I already know what they are going to say.” When it comes to visible conditions like obesity or well-known bad habits like smoking or drug use, many men don’t want to hear the truth. It is much easier to deny the reality of the situation when you aren’t confronted with it by a professional. It might sting a little to hear that you need to lose 30 or 40 pounds, but your doctor is trying to save your life. Try to accept the advice rather than take it personally.
Cancer exams, blood work, and general cautions are routine with male checkups, and they are designed to promote your health and longevity. Your fears or excuses are only holding you back from a healthy, active lifestyle.
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