Listen up, fellas, this one’s for you. June is Men’s Health Month, and we need to talk about your health.
American men are facing a health crisis, but don’t take our word for it. Here are some startling facts about men’s health you should know:
- Compared with women, men are more likely to avoid going to the doctor. Only three in five men get an annual physical.1
- Nearly 60% of men don’t go to the doctor when they fear they have a serious medical condition.1
- 19% of men admit that they go to the doctor only so their significant other or loved one will stop nagging them.1
- 50% of men say that their health isn’t something they talk about.1
- Men are more likely to practice riskier behavior than women, like smoking2 and excessive drinking.3
- Men have a life expectancy that’s five years less than females, and they live with more years of bad health.4
- Men are four times as likely to commit suicide compared to females.4
What’s keeping men from seeking care?
Visiting your doctor for routine exams is a simple and essential part of staying healthy, so why do so many men refuse to go to the doctor regularly?
Here are six common reasons men say they don’t go to the doctor – and six ways we counter those reasons!
- I don’t have time. There are approximately 8,760 hours in a year. Surely you can spare two hours to visit the doctor. Those two hours could give you extra YEARS to spend time doing what you love!
- I’m afraid of a diagnosis. Waiting on symptoms to become painful or unavoidable will only make treatment and recovery more difficult, time-consuming and costly. Improve your chance of a positive outcome by addressing concerns before they become serious issues!
- I’m uncomfortable with body exams. Trust us, no one—women included—likes invasive exams. However, remember that your doctor is a highly trained professional who performs hundreds of exams a year. They have already seen it all! Whether it’s a prostate exam, or a rectal exam, catching an issue early can greatly increase your chances of survival and recovery.
- I don’t want to answer personal questions. Even if you’ve put on weight, or you smoke, remember that your doctor isn’t there to judge you. They’re there to help you. Your doctor can help coach you toward better health—but only if you let them! Find a doctor you trust and with whom you feel comfortable discussing difficult topics.
- I don’t want to spend money. You spend money on routine maintenance for your car to avoid costly issues in the long-run. It’s the same concept when it comes to your health. A routine doctor’s visit is MUCH less expensive than a hospital visit!
- I’m healthy. There’s nothing wrong. You may be right, but then again, you may not. Silent killers like high blood pressure and high cholesterol can go undiagnosed for years before possibly causing serious issues like heart attack or stroke. Your doctor can easily diagnose issues like these and help you treat them, making a big difference in your health and the length of your life.
Five resources to help men take charge of their health
Despite the rather gloomy statistics above, here’s a positive note: 90% of men in the U.S. want to take charge of their own health.5 In honor of Men’s Health Month, we’re going to share five resources to help men do just that. These resources, in coordination with regular doctor’s visits, can help men live healthy, fulfilling lives.
- YourHealthWallet This app allows men (and women!) to empower their own health care. The YourHealthWallet app allows you to track and record your personal health records, as well as set doctor’s appointment reminders. The medication tracker part of the app enables you to set medication reminders and dosage instructions. In addition, you can use this app to track your fitness activity level and set fitness goals.
- American Cancer Society—Cancer Screening Guidelines by Age This resource from the American Cancer Society allows you to select your age and then view cancer screening guidelines for men (as well as women). Browse this resource to get in the know about which screenings you should be talking about with your doctor.
- SmartBP—Smart Blood Pressure This is an easy-to-use blood pressure management app. This app allows you to record, track, analyze and share your blood pressure information using your mobile device. Whether you deal with prehypertension or hypertension, or you simply want to ensure your numbers stay at a healthy level, SmartBP can help you track your progress and manage your measurements with a goal of improving your blood pressure.
- WebMD—Men’s Health WebMD features a large and comprehensive resource center of male-specific health topics, including diet, exercise, sex, male-specific disease and more.
- Smoke Free If you struggle with smoking, this app will show you what you can gain by giving it up. With over 20 different, evidence-based techniques, this app can help you become, and stay, smoke free. Find motivation by learning how much money you’ve saved, how many cigarettes you’ve not smoked, how long you’ve been smoke free, how much life you’ve regained, and how your health is improving.
Use your Washington National wellness benefits!
Men, if your Washington National policy includes wellness benefits, be sure you’re taking advantage of your benefits for annual wellness screenings!
Wellness benefits can help pay for an annual cancer screening such as a PSA (blood test for prostate cancer), colonoscopy and more. Cancer screenings can help your physician understand your family history, discover new and developing health risks, create a wellness plan to reduce your risks, and recommend steps to improve or maintain your health. Reach out to your Washington National agent if you have questions about your benefits.
1Everyday Health, 60% of Men Don’t Go to the Doctor: Here’s Why, https://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/health-answers/why-men-dont-go-to-the-doctor/, 2016.
2 CDC, Smoking and Tobacco Use, https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/, 2019.
3CDC, Alcohol and Public Health, https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/mens-health.htm, 2016.
4Men’s Health Network, Key Statistics in the Fight for Men’s Health, http://www.menshealthmonth.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Mens-Health-Infographic.png, 2019.
5Men’s Health Network, The State of Men’s Health, http://menshealthnetwork.org/node/695, 2016.