Why manning up over medical problems is not the way to manage long-term health.
When faced with a medical condition, most men would rather tough it out than tackle it head on.
So why is it that the “stronger sex” are reluctant to admit they have a problem, and then to act on it?
This is especially true when considering how men care for themselves when faced with health difficulties.
Getting them to admit something is wrong is half the battle, while getting them to keep a doctor’s appointment is the bane of their wives’ lives.
Until then, men’s attempts at health management will be half-hearted until a severe prognosis puts them sorely on the spot.
In fact, while most men today would say they are more focused on their health than they have ever been; their doctors would beg to differ.
This difference is especially worth noting when it comes to treating chronic conditions because failure to follow treatment can lead to more serious health problems in future.
Let’s take a look at how men manage to make a mess of it when it comes to their own health:
According to research from the American Academy of Family Physicians, one in three doctors said that up to half of their male patients did not take a prescription as directed. Four in 10 also reported that up to half of their male patients failed to follow up with a regular routine test when ordered for their condition.
In addition, nearly a quarter of surveyed doctors said up to half of their male patients failed to turn up for planned follow-up visits.
These missed opportunities come at a time when chronic conditions among men are on the rise.
According to the National Ambulatory Medical Survey (conducted in the United States) diagnoses of three common, yet potentially severe, conditions have all increased year-on-year.
Data shows that cases of high blood pressure (4 per cent increase), high cholesterol (5 per cent) and diabetes (2 per cent) have all seen notable increases.
Dr John Meigs, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, says people often don’t take these conditions seriously because they don’t display any noticeable symptoms.
“That’s a big mistake,” he says. “High blood pressure and high cholesterol have been called ‘silent killers’ for a reason.
“If they aren’t controlled they can lead to heart attack, stroke or kidney disease. In addition to these complications, uncontrolled diabetes also can cause blindness, nerve damage and loss of limbs.
“So it’s vital that men see their doctors, get preventive care and follow instructions for any chronic diseases they may have.”
Fortunately, taking a more pro-active approach to health care is easier than most men think. A visit to your family doctor is the first step towards taking charge of your health and identifying any issues. Your family doctor will help you learn about any chronic conditions you might have and how to treat them.
For health information that is easy to understand, visit familydoctor.org. You’ll find a men’s guide to preventative health care, and information about healthy diets and weight control.
Follow the advice provided here, as well as your doctor’s recommendations, and you’ll turn your goal for good health into reality.