MEMO TO MEN: TO LIVE LONGER, TAKE BETTER CARE OF YOUR BODY
JUNE 1, 2011As a general rule, men take lousy care of their health.
They shrug off injuries. They hate going to the doctor for anything. They pay little heed to warning signs for major health issues.
And the results of all that manliness are evident in the statistics. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
The main way men can improve the length and quality of their lives, Williams said, is to start taking a personal interest in their health.
"If you look at the data, women are 100 percent more likely than men to seek preventative care," he said. "It's really scary." The first step is to schedule an appointment with a doctor for a full physical examination. "A tremendous percentage of men do not see the doctor," said Armin Brott, a talk-show host and author who co-wrote the Blueprint for Men's Health for the Men's Health Network.
And when meeting with the doctor, be sure to ask questions. Ask what tests and screenings are appropriate for a man your age, and what are your potential risk factors for major diseases.
Men should also bring up any long-term problems they have, no matter how embarrassing or private the problem might be. And experts agree that men need to be brutally honest about such things as erectile dysfunction, drinking and smoking because doctors can't do their jobs unless they have a complete picture of their male patients' health.
"You've just got to suck it up and talk about it because it can be a symptom of something more important," Brott said.
Other tips from Men's Health Network for preparing for a physical include:
Beyond that, try to create and then follow a healthy lifestyle that includes:
Think of it this way: Men ought to start taking care of their bodies as well as they take care of their cars. "If we're going to bend this curve, that's where we need to start," Williams said.
By Dennis Thompson
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