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Men’s Health Week: Get Your Man to Do Something about His Health

Keri Tidwell

Men's Health Week

You’ve likely heard the excuses — maybe you’ve made them yourself:

  • “I’m too busy.”
  • “I’m not sick. I feel fine. I’ll go to the doctor when I’m sick.”
  • “I don’t have time.”
  • “What does a doctor know?”
  • “If something is wrong, I don’t want to know about it.”

But ignorance isn’t bliss and unless we make time for our health, the consequence may be death. Women are more likely to see a doctor than men, which is why, according to the APA, on average, men die five years earlier than women. Men are also 1.5 times more likely to succumb to heart disease, cancer, and respiratory disease than women. While genes certainly play a role in one’s health, regular screenings can go a long way to prevent many diseases even before the first symptom. June 12-18 is Men’s Health Week, the week leading up to and including Father’s Day. What better time to encourage the special men in your life to get screened for early detection and disease prevention.

Consider these statistics from the Centers for Disease Control:

  • 34.5 percent of men 20 years & over are obese
  • 32.6 percent of men 20 years & over have hypertension (measured high blood pressure and/or taking antihypertensive medication)
  • Every year, more than 300,000 men in the U.S. lose their lives to cancer
  • The most common kinds of cancer among men in the U.S. are skin cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer. More men die from lung cancer, most often caused by cigarettes, than any other type of cancer. Colorectal cancer can be prevented with timely screenings
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States, killing 321,000 men in 2013—that’s 1 in every 4 male deaths
  • Half of the men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Yet even without symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease
  • Between 70 percent and 89 percent of sudden cardiac events occur in men

Before we married my husband absolutely refused to see a doctor. He was too busy. He felt fine. He didn’t have time. Whatever was hurting him would eventually stop. He made every excuse in the book. But after we married and had our first child, he realized that his health didn’t just affect him; it affected his entire family. If he neglected to take care of himself, then he hurt not only himself, but his wife and children. So, he began scheduling yearly check-ups, seeking out medical help when necessary, eating healthy, and working out regularly. While I’m thankful my husband has decided to make his health a priority, unfortunately, most men do not.

Not all men are motivated to prioritize their health, but a doctor can help prevent health problems before they even start by recommending treatment options for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes and advising cancer screenings, immunizations, and other health testing at appropriate times.

Women, let's encourage (not nag!) our men to visit the doctor. They may need some gentle prodding, so schedule an appointment for them, offer an enticing incentive, or turn their doctor’s appointment into a date. This year let’s refute the excuses and make our men’s health a priority. Just don’t wait until it’s too late.

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