“One of the most important decisions a man can make is to see a doctor for routine check-ups and screenings.”
One hundred years ago, men lived longer than women by an average of one year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But today, the average woman lives six years longer than the average man. Furthermore, men are 60 percent more likely to develop heart disease than women, and men are 44 percent more likely to get cancer. This can be attributed to the fact that men are less likely to adopt preventative health measures, more likely to engage in risky behaviors, and more likely to go long periods without seeing a doctor.
Aches, pains, and discomfort are just something men try to power through. Many don’t want to see a doctor just to hear what’s wrong with them. As with women, it’s just as important for men to take time for preventative healthcare. It can improve quality of life and potential diseases can be discovered while there is still time for effective treatment.
Many of the major health risks that men often face, like heart disease and colon cancer, can be prevented and even treated with an early diagnosis. Doctors regularly screen for unhealthy blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, mental health, and weight. The following simple, lifesaving screenings are highly recommended:
- Yearly Physical & Blood Pressure (All Men)
- Skin Cancer Exam (All Men)
- Blood Panel to Check Cholesterol, Diabetes, Kidney, and Thyroid (Men 20 and Older)
- Blood Panel with a Prostate Cancer Screening (Men 50 and Older*)
- Colonoscopy to Check for Colon Cancer (New guideline: Men 45 and Older**)
Some important things men can do to help prevent disease and premature death is to eat healthy, be physically active, maintain a healthy weight, not smoke, only drink in moderation, and manage stress. These small daily choices add up to big results!
Women, you can help the men in your life too. By encouraging the guys in your life to take even the smallest symptoms seriously and discuss them with their doctors, you will be helping them take a more active role in their own healthcare. And by educating yourself about potential male health problems and passing that information on to the men you love, you may also be able to save a life.
If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the doctor for a routine physical, pick up the phone and schedule a visit. Bingham Memorial has offices in Blackfoot, Idaho Falls, Pocatello, and Shelley. Call (208) 785-4100 to find an office near you or visit our Family Medicine page.
*African-American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer may wish to begin prostate screenings at age 40 or earlier.
**According to the American Cancer Society