June is a great time to be Manly. With all the camping, fishing, and baseball, one cannot help but be manly. With Father’s Day coming up, it’s a great time to support our manly fathers. But when it comes to Health Care, most men don’t man up or step up to the plate, or should I say-“step up to the doctor.”
A recent National Survey stated, “Half of men don’t go to the doctor.” Fifty-five percent haven’t seen their MD in the last year. Forty-five percent between ages 18 to 50 don’t even have a regular doctor. Forty percent of men in their 40’s have never had their cholesterol checked. Where are the men? What are they afraid of? This is killing us early.
I know; I have been there. It was not until my mid-40s that I even had my first doctor visit. We tend to be afraid of what might be found. But in reality, it’s what we don’t find or don’t even check on that will kill us faster. Men often have to have sick symptoms before they even get checked. Unfortunately, most diseases have no symptoms until years later when the damage is well underway. So many common illnesses are preventable and treatable if caught and treated early.
Nearly 800,000 Americans will have their first heart attack this year. For a third of those, their first symptom will be death – no second chances. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes are the silent diseases that contribute much to heart disease. A man can have these for years without feeling bad, while the damage is growing inside. These diseases are easily preventable and treatable. A man just needs to be checked.
Also preventable and easily treated early are the three most deadly and common cancers in men: lung cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer. Let’s be honest with ourselves: we take better care of our cars and lawns than our own health. All it takes to prevent and treat most of these killer diseases is regular doctor check ups—at least once a year. A physical check up is recommended for every guy ages 20-39 every 3 years, between ages 40-49 every 2 years, and after 50 every year. Every man should have their blood pressure checked at least every year and cholesterol checked every 5 years.
If every man can be checked for these common, preventable, and treatable illnesses each year, then we can all be a healthier and longer living Manly Man. More advice on Men’s Health can be located on the reliable web site: WebMD.com.
Dr. Jeffrey Smith is Medical Director for Three Rivers Community Health- Hickman and Perry County Medical Center and treats patients at Perry County Medical Center.