Women look after their health more closely than men do. That is the result of a new survey from the American Academy of Family Physicians, which draws attention to an important point; namely, that each person is his or her best tool for diagnosing a health problem. If you don’t watch out for yourself, who else will?
That is a point lost more on males in the U.S. than females. It doesn’t come as a grand surprise when you take skin cancer as an example. This is a condition that sneaks up predominantly on men, who have a tendency to assume that they are impervious to such things. Women spend more time in front of the mirror than do men, and they are more apt to check their skin for signs of problems. Sure, signs of aging are forefront, but this kind of self-exam reveals all sorts of skin problems, including catching a potentially cancerous lesion early on.
In any event, back to the survey. Researchers found that men do not do a great job of managing their person health, “from skipping important health screenings to avoiding a visit to the doctor altogether.”
From a pool of nearly 2,300 men and women in the U.S., the following facts were gleaned:
— 55% of all men have not seen their family doctor for a physical exam within the past year. That’s more than half! — 18% of men have never received screening for colon cancer. — 42% of men have been diagnosed with a chronic illness. — Those illnesses are high blood pressure (28%), heart disease (8%), arthritis (13%), cancer (8%), and diabetes (10%). — Nearly 30% of men said they wait “as long as possible” before getting medical help when they are in pain, feel sick, or have concerns about their health. — About 80% of men said they are in good to excellent health.
The survey illustrates that men are one of the biggest obstacles to their own health. Going to the doctor for screening tests and advice can have a major impact on health — but they are, in general, less likely to get a regular checkup. Yet along with exercise and a healthy diet, getting checkups, screening tests, and doctor counseling are vital to one’s mental and physical health.