HEALTH PLUS MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT
The month of November is important for the masculine being because it gathers several events that are important to men. ‘Movember’ is the month we focus on raising awareness on issues concerning Men. On November 19, International Men’s Day celebrated worldwide the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. We highlighted positive role models and raised awareness of men’s well-being. The 2020 theme is “Better health for men and boys.” Crucial and necessary, as the statistics on men’s health are alarming.
The statistics show many men would rather suffer
If you think about any male figure in your life, does he seem to be always dogging the doctor? Excuses such as, “it will heal on its own” or “it doesn’t hurt that bad” are common. It seems that men do not enjoy engaging in discussions surrounding their health. Vulnerability may be part of the reason that men are not giving physicians the full story when they do make appointments.
72% of men surveyed would rather be doing household chores than making a doctor’s appointment.
65% of men surveyed stated that they typically avoid seeing a doctor for as long as possible.
20% of participants were able to admit that they have not always been 100% honest with their health care provider.
37% of men who participated in the survey have withheld information from their doctors in the past.
These numbers, while alarming to see on paper, make total sense. There is the perception as a man, that you should be able to handle your own business, and that seeking help or guidance may be perceived as weakness. Studies also show that men typically do not enjoy hearing about their lifestyle choices such as drinking, smoking, and eating habits and they already know those areas need improvement.
What is the number one condition that men are most likely to ignore?
Heart disease is the number one killer of men. Mental Health challenges are number two with various cancer being a close third. Research has found that heart attacks are twice as common in men than women throughout life, and heart disease is the leading cause of death in men over the age of 45. Fortunately, there are plenty of good lifestyle choices you can make to keep your heart, body and mind strong and healthy.
Aerobic exercise is one of them. Several studies have established a link between a higher rate of cardiovascular events and sedentary lifestyles. Aim for around half an hour of moderate physical activity every day.
On the other end of the spectrum, smoking can be a significant detriment to your heart. You would likely have heard plenty of reasons not to smoke, but here are a few more: nicotine constricts blood vessels and carbon monoxide can damage them, and heart attacks are more common in smokers than non-smokers.
Shifting the Mindset for Future Generations of Men
The more men understand and are encouraged to take their health into their own hands, the better their outcomes for early reporting of preventable diseases. We all need to campaign together to get more men seen by their primary care physician at least once a year for a baseline physical. The more they go, the more comfortable they will get with discussing issues men may perceive as oversharing and uncomfortable.
Partnering with places where men typically hang out such as golf courses and athletic clubs, will hopefully help outreach and get men scheduled with their doctors.
There is good news, however, as the younger generation is very tech-focused, so health websites have been helpful tools. They have helped shift how these young men think and increase their basic health knowledge. It’s safe to say the curiosity is there, but getting them to the doctor is still a work in progress.
So let’s seek to MOVE those statistics down in “MOVEMBER”!
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