Some men just don’t like talking about their health.
Even when they see a doctor, one of five men admit they haven’t been completely honest with their physicians. Common reasons include embarrassment or discomfort with discussing certain issues and not wanting to be told to change their diets or lifestyle. Some say they didn’t mention a health concern because they weren’t ready to face a troubling diagnosis or wanted to avoid being judged.
That’s a bit troubling as recent studies show men are dying an average of five years younger than women and lead nine out of 10 of the top causes of death.
June is National Men’s Health Month, a national observance to raise awareness about health care for men. The focus is on encouraging boys, men and their families to implement and practice healthy living decisions, such as exercising and eating
healthy. And to increase awareness of health problems that can be detected early.
Some serious diseases may not have symptoms. High blood pressure can cause heart attack and stroke. (That’s why they call it “the silent killer.”) High cholesterol and diabetes can be symptom-free.
Choose a doctor you’re comfortable with and be honest about what’s really going on. The more often you’re open, the easier it will become, and the less you’ll cringe at the thought of an exam.
Avoiding the doctor won’t make your health issues go away. Lean on your support network (taking a buddy to the doctor doesn’t make you weak) and find a doctor you can trust. You’ll thank yourself later for taking care of yourself today.
You can do anything for a month, and if you do it for a month, you can do it for life.
START SMALL AND MAKE REAL PROGRESS
Now’s a good time to take stock of your health and think about how healthy you want to be. Set small and achievable goals and work with your doctor to make them a reality:
• Eat healthier and cut back on those snacks.
• Add variety to your diet, including fresh fruits and vegetables; brown rice and whole-grain breads; fiber-rich foods, including beans and leafy greens; and lean cuts of meat and
poultry, such as skinless chicken breast and lean ground beef.
• Exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming, basketball, tennis and other physical activities can
increase muscular strength and flexibility, strengthen the heart and improve circulation, and decrease blood sugar levels.
Joan Koczor is a senior advocate and a member of the Age-Friendly Maricopa Advisory Board.
This column appears in the June issue of InMaricopa magazine.