‘Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today’
Published 10:53 am Thursday, June 10, 2021
June is Men’s Health Awareness Month
BY DAN MCKAY
Ephraim McDowell Health President & CEO
We’ve all heard the age-old saying, “women tend to live longer than men,” but have we ever stopped ourselves and wondered why?
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Well, for starters, it’s a known fact that men are more likely to smoke, drink excessively, and be overweight. But setting bad habits aside, it’s also a well-known fact that men are less likely to seek medical attention when there may be something wrong with their health, and once diagnosed with any form of disease or illness, men are also less likely to seek treatment.
The reasons why men avoid medical care could be endless. Some could argue they don’t want to bother a doctor with their problems and believe they will improve on their own over time. Others might not want to feel vulnerable, maybe even fear the worst, or may be embarrassed to discuss an issue they are facing, and may also be equally embarrassed about what they might worry is the diagnosis. Whatever the reason, seeking medical attention when you need to, and committing to your yearly primary care exams, are important no matter what your age or gender, and men are no exception to that rule.
Yearly physicals with your provider serve as the perfect time to ask questions you may be putting off for far too long. As men age, their need for certain kinds of medical attention changes. Having an open relationship with your doctor, and being able to discuss topics such as the risk for prostate cancer, when it’s time to start colonoscopy screenings, how to check for testicular cancer, what vaccines you may require, and what kind of supplements are age-appropriate for you, can help to ensure you live a long and healthy life.
Yearly examinations also serve as a great time to discuss what might have changed in your health since your last visit. Being honest with your primary care provider can help alleviate some stress about certain health concerns, and at this time your doctor can order whatever tests are necessary to help put your mind and your heart at rest knowing your needs are being addressed, and your health is in good hands.
Not following up with a physician for your yearly exam, and also when you have certain health concerns, can put you at a higher risk for heart disease, certain types of cancer, and other serious health problems such as diabetes.
Of course, seeing a doctor is only one way to improve your health. Watching your diet and how much you exercise is also important. As we age, we tend to slow down, whether from lack of energy or a more sedentary lifestyle from the jobs we choose. Making sure to engage in physical activity daily, cutting back on snack foods, sugar, alcohol, and quitting tobacco can help to ensure your health stays optimal at any age. Watching your stress levels, and cutting out or controlling stressful situations in your life will also help you to maintain your new health goals and only benefit you in the long run.
June may be Men’s Health Awareness Month, but adopting these lifestyle changes, committing to yearly appointments with your primary care provider, keeping up on necessary screenings, and making sure you get regular exercise and eat a healthy diet, will ensure the age-old saying, “women tend to live longer than men,” doesn’t ring true for you. Dedication to your health can ensure you live just as long, and that you do so by also enjoying an active, great life at the same time. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Address your health concerns and make it a point to put health first, both now, and for all of your long and healthy years to come.