Young boys are taught at a very early age to be tough, suck it up, and show little emotion or weakness.
It is these learned behaviors that embody a spirit of invincibility, that eventually leads to the early down fall of men due to this false sense of health and wellness, which sadly, leads to many of us having to die for some of us to live! The diagnostic conclusion is usually made from a quick google search of the current symptoms and/or from a brief barbershop conversation with a comparison of one’s health to that of your closest male friend, family member, or current barber.
This thinking is by far the most dangerous way of managing your health, which places you at the disadvantage of being reactive to changes in your symptoms, rather than taking a proactive approach to manage your current symptoms before they lead to a decline in health.
Current statistics from the Centers of Disease Control on men’s health and well-being suggest the following:
48% of men do not regularly engage in physical activity
34.5% are obese (Body Mass Index > 30)
31.6% have 5 or more alcoholic beverages in one day at least once in the past year
32.6% have hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
17.8% smoke tobacco
11.8% of men younger than 65 years old don’t have health insurance
12.4% rate their overall health as fair or poor
Leading causes of death:
Accidents (unintentional injuries)
Despite these statistics, most of us feel that we are confidently in touch with our bodies and that we will know when something is going wrong, yet for the most part we live by the old age axiom “out of sight, out of mind”.
Preventive care is the foundation for building a life of quality and quantity by taking a proactive approach in managing common health conditions. However, we typically take better care of our 2 and 4 wheeled vehicles than we do these 2 precious legs on which we can’t just stroll down to the local auto parts store to purchase spare parts for.
So why are men not going to the doctor?
Fear of the unknown
Fear of loss of control
Fear of being considered weak / vulnerable
Stubborn; not willing to change
So where are men going instead of visiting the doctor. In my unofficial non-scientific transparent, tried, and true survey, I found that men “I know” visit the following top 10 places (1 bonus included), in no specific order, more than they would ever consider gracing the threshold of a Doctor’s office:
Church (most walk in alive while others are carried in by 6 strong men – LOL)
Night club / Bar / Restaurant (because of the women, food, and alcohol)
Barbershop (just for the fellowship, because there is no hair left to cut – KMSL)
Mechanic / Auto Shop (preventive maintenance of 2 or 4 wheeled vehicles)
Cell Phone Store / Electronics Department (can’t function without a working cell phone – So Sad…)
Home Depot / Lowes (weekend warrior projects)
Gun Range (we protect ourselves and families, but continue to neglect our health – SMH)
Any Sporting Event (for the fellowship and…. the women, food, and alcohol)
Gym / Athletic Clubs (again, women in yoga pants -LOL)
Pediatrician (taking our kids for school / sports physicals)
*Bonus: Golf Course (for the fellowship, gambling, “ish talking”, alcohol, & ironically walking)*
So how do we stop this massive premature exodus of young men from easily preventable and treatable medical conditions? Unfortunately, we can’t because this becomes an individual decision for each man to make and if he chooses the path that men have historically taken, then the current death rate will only continue to rise.
And remember, it’s easier to stay well, than it is to get well! #PryorityMale
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Yours in Health & Wellness,
The Men’s Health NP
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