According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men are less likely than women to see a doctor on a regular basis. But neglecting one’s health and missing important screenings can lead to health problems.
So how can we help make sure men receive wellness checkups? Here are a few tips:
Just the facts
If there’s a man in your life who is reluctant to visit the doctor, sometimes you’ll need to help him understand the importance of prevention. Consider offering up these facts:
- More than 70% of sudden heart attack events happen to men. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death in men.
- Cancer is the No. 2 cause of death in men. Lifestyle modifications and appropriate screening can help prevent the top three cancers — prostate, lung and colorectal — and early detection vastly improves treatment options and recovery.
- Men develop diabetes slightly more frequently than women. While many symptoms are the same, men may experience low testosterone and increased erectile dysfunction.
- Men can have more complications than women from high blood pressure. One of these is erectile dysfunction because high blood pressure results in reduced blood flow to the penis during an erection.
Once your male loved one understands these health realities, it’s time to take action. Men, like women, should receive an annual physical exam by their primary care physician. If needed, the doctor will arrange for additional tests such as blood work and colon cancer screening. If he receives a clean bill of health, set an appointment for the following year.
Lifesaving screenings make financial sense
If a reluctant male has obvious health concerns, it is even more important to encourage him to get checked. Don’t wait for something small to become a health crisis. Hospital bills, time off work and major lifestyle changes can be costly.
Some men need a reminder that seeing the doctor isn’t a waste of resources. Let him know that these screenings can go a long way toward keeping him in tip-top shape physically and financially:
- Yearly blood pressure screening
- Fasting blood test to screen for diabetes in men with a family history, symptoms or who have other risk factors
- Baseline cholesterol screening.
- Colonoscopy screening at age 45, or earlier if there is a family history
- Prostate exams beginning at age 55 (those with a family history should be screened earlier)
- Yearly lung cancer screening for people between ages 50 and 80 who have a history of heavy smoking or have quit within the past 15 years