Male Health Issues
Do you take care of your health?
Most men don’t
Have you ever taken a look around you when sitting in a physician’s office? Most of the patients are women and children. It is almost impossible to get most men in to see a doctor unless they have some trivial infection like a common cold.
In fact, when it comes to taking care of your health, men are much less likely than women to visit their family doctor. They are far less likely to take their prescribed drugs regularly and even worse when it comes to taking vitamin supplements. Compared to women, they work out much less, tend not to drink alcohol in moderation and are less likely to quit smoking or go on a healthy diet. They are more likely to eat more red meat, less vegetables and more fast food and take-out.
Recently, the Vancouver-based Canadian Men’s Health Organization compiled some male health statistics and the results were staggering. Men are actually 79 per cent more likely to die from heart disease than women and 57 per cent more likely to die from diabetes. Men account for a whopping 82 per cent of alcohol-related deaths in Canada and about 80 per cent of suicides.
Men are 29 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with cancer and 40 per cent more likely to die as a result of the disease. Nearly 70 per cent of Canadian men are overweight or considered obese. On average men have more than nine years of what is considered “unhealthy life”, mostly related to medical issues that could have been easily prevented. Have you ever visited someone in a nursing home? Men are almost a rarity in these places because senior-age widows outnumber senior-age widowers four to one according to a survey done just last year. Widows actually account for 45 per cent of all women 65 and older.
There are many theories about why men don’t concern themselves with personal health matters as much as women do. Historically, women have been the custodians of health in the family. As a practising pharmacist for many years, they were the ones who took the children and sometimes the husband to the doctor, all of them kicking and screaming. Also it is the nature of men not to talk about personal illness, symptoms or pain. They just want to talk about sports and women.
Men are most silent when it comes to mental disease and are the least likely to seek treatment. Hence the reason for the unusual high ratio of male suicides.
Men are very difficult when it comes to getting routine tests for diseases and conditions that could be treated or prevented with early detection. A recent U.S. study showed that men are 40 per cent more likely to skip exams, such as colonoscopies, prostate exams and even routine blood tests that could indicate Type 2 diabetes.
The Canadian Men’s Health Foundation is in the process of preparing a study that looks at the economic costs associated with their poor health choices. Early results from their research calculates that the total impact on the Canadian economy was about 36.9 billion dollars.
The foundation was only founded last year by Larry Goldenberg, a professor and former head of urologic sciences at the University of British Columbia. His aim is to see more attention drawn to men’s health issues. In this country we have multiple walks, runs and everything for breast cancer, and yet only one a year for prostate cancer. We have never had a walk or run for lung cancer which is primarily a male disease. Have you ever watched a baseball game or a football game in which they are promoting screening for breast cancer? Most of the players wear pink accessories, pink shoes, use pink baseball bats and wear pink hats. Do you think they would switch to black accessories to promote awareness of lung cancer?
I just think that men are men and trying to promote their health issues is just a waste of time. Men are innately stubborn creatures who do not like to be told what to do. That is why we drive around a foreign city in circles, never asking for directions or consulting a map or GPS. When the Hebrews left Egypt they followed Moses around the desert for 40 years. They probably would have arrived in the “promised land” in less than a year if a woman were leading them.
As someone who definitely takes care of my health, I really don’t understand the ignorance of most men and how they can view their health with such disregard. I have a family doctor, an ophthalmologist, a cardiologist, a sport physician and an orthopaedic doctor. I eat as healthy as possible and take an assortment of good supplements. I want to maintain the Quality of my life and be able to do anything I want on any given day. At 72 years of age I play in a men’s baseball league for men who are 35 years of age and older. I have travelled all over this world but still have many places to see.
We all know that men and women are very different from one another but when are you men going to stand up for your health and keep yourself alive longer and free of disease? Start looking after yourself. It’s never too late.