Taking Men’s Preventive Health More Seriously
Just as October is synonymous with breast cancer awareness, November has become known for the focus on men’s health thanks to “Movember”—a global charity that raises awareness of issues like prostate and testicular cancers, suicide, depression, and other mental health issues.
Honestly, it’s about time we focused more on men’s health.
Why? Because quite frankly, women take better care of their health than men—and it’s showing in their longevity.
Overall, both men and women are living longer than ever—but decade over decade, women outpace men. At the age of 65, for every 100 women in this country, there are only 77 men. By age 85, women outnumber men 2.6 to 1. Among centenarians (age 100+), for every man there are four women.
There are many social, biological, and behavioral factors involved in this disparity. Many of them we simply can’t do much about. Men can’t turn their Y chromosomes into Xs. But there are several behavioral changes that men can make to improve their health and boost their longevity.
One of the biggest and most important is to start taking preventive healthcare more seriously.
Why Do Men Avoid Healthcare?
Not all men avoid getting checkups and routine screenings. But surveys show that most don’t take preventive care nearly as seriously as they should.
A CDC survey revealed that in 2012, the rate of women seeking preventive care was 69% higher than the rate for men.
A more recent 2019 survey of 1,174 men conducted by the Cleveland Clinic gave a bit more insight into men’s doctor-avoiding habits.
For starters, 72% of men would rather do chores than go to the doctor. And 77% of men in relationships said they would rather go shopping with their significant other than go to the doctor! Now that says a lot!
Additionally, of the men surveyed, only half said they thought getting regular wellness exams was an important part of taking care of themselves. And when they do finally go to the doctor, it’s because the symptoms or injury become bad enough that they have no other choice.
This attitude is especially common among younger men aged 35-54 (72%), who are more likely to hold out as long as possible compared to men over 55 (59%).
A lot of this reluctance to see the doctor could stem from the fact that 41% of respondents were told as kids that men don’t complain about health problems.
This “tough it out” attitude can have some serious health consequences, especially over time. The longer you wait to get checked out or screened for certain conditions, the harder they become to treat or cure.
So, men, if you need a New Year Resolution for 2022, or if you’re looking for a good holiday present to give yourself…might we suggest the gift of taking care of yourself?!
The Importance of Routine Checkups
We won’t downplay the fact that going to the doctor can be nerve wracking and at times a little uncomfortable. But good health can only be achieved by being proactive…and that means staying on top of screenings and exams.
At the very least, we recommend that you see a general practitioner or internist, who can do a thorough exam and tell you a lot about where your health stands as a whole.
He/she should also order blood tests to check your CBCs, metabolic panel, cholesterol panel, C-reactive protein (an inflammation marker), vitamin D and other nutritional statuses, and any other workups based on symptoms or concerns.
If you can’t get to your doctor in person, explore telemedicine—which has grown by leaps and bounds since the start of the pandemic. While nothing can truly replace a face-to-face visit, telemedicine is an excellent option if you can’t take too much time out of your day for an in-person appointment.
If necessary, your general practitioner can also refer you to specialists to handle medical concerns that need expert attention. This may include a urologist (for urinary, prostate, and sexual health concerns), dermatologist (for skin cancer checks), and/or gastroenterologist (for colon cancer screenings).
And don’t forget about your mental and emotional health—which is commonly ignored by men as well. We want to eliminate the stigma surrounding seeking help through therapy.
Taking Your Health Into Your Own Hands
Another important step in proactively taking care of your health is to take vitamins and supplements.
Ideally, you’d get all the nutrients you need through a healthy, well-rounded diet. But everyone falls short, which is where a multivitamin comes in. It helps fill the gaps in your diet, providing you with the nutrients your body needs to function at its peak.
On top of a multi, you may want to consider certain herbs that are known to support men’s health.
Saw palmetto is one such herb. It is the “gold standard” nutrient for supporting prostate health. It has been shown to alleviate symptoms associated with enlarged prostate like frequent urination. You can find saw palmetto in Newport Natural Health’s Prostate Plus product.
Additionally, herbs like ashwagandha for not only support the prostate but also healthy levels of testosterone. A form of ashwagandha called KSM-66 has been shown to not only increase testosterone levels but also improve sexual health and aid in muscle building and recovery. KSM-66 is the main ingredient in Newport Natural Health’s Enhanced Male.
Finally, you can find both of these products, as well as Cholesterol Support and Joint Renewal Plus, in Newport Natural Health’s Men’s Ultra Health Bundle. This combination of nutrients supports men’s health from all angles—sexual, hormonal, cholesterol, joint, and more.
If there’s one takeaway, it’s this: You only have one life, so you need to take care of it. If you haven’t seen a doctor in a while, make it a priority to schedule an appointment. If you do go to your doctor on a regular basis, keep it up! Your future self will thank you.
Cleveland Clinic Newsroom. 2019 Cleveland Clinic MENtion It® Survey Results Overview.
Harvard Health Publishing. Mars vs. Venus: The gender gap in health. 2019 Aug 26.