This week is National Men’s Health Week. The purpose of the week is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men.
And boy do we need the help.
Women outlive men and have done so for many years. In 1920, women outlived guys by an average of 1 year; now it’s 5 years. Why? According the Men’s Health Network – www.menshealthnetwork.org, men die younger from: heart disease, cancer, diabetes and many other chronic diseases. Probably because we are less likely to practice good health behaviors than women, more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors than women and are less likely to seek medical attention when we need to. In fact, men are 24% less likely to have visited a doctor in the last year; half as likely to make an appointment with a physician for preventative purposes and less likely to follow medical advice after a diagnosis.
The good news is that progress is being made, it wasn’t too long ago that women were outliving men by 7 years. But more can be done to narrow the gap even further. It starts, obviously, with practicing the fundamentals of good health – the things that have been the cornerstone of H3 since its inception:
But as men we have to do a better job of taking advantage of the health care system by following the recommended preventive and diagnostic screenings. Clearly, the sooner a condition can be identified, the greater the opportunity to manage it. For an updated list of screening tests and when men should have them, go to the Men’s Health Network.
While this article is about men’s health, it affects women as well. To quote Congressman Bill Richardson,
“Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.”
Because men are less likely to take care of their health on their own, we need the help of the women in our lives. Theresa Morrow, from the support group, Women Against Prostate Cancer, put it this way,
“The role of women in keeping the men in their life healthy is invaluable. While it may pain you to nag your husband (or other men you care about) about one more thing, do it anyway. If you recognize unusual symptoms in your loved one, do whatever it takes to get him the help he needs; it may save his life.”