(BPT) - Men are notorious for avoiding the doctor and ignoring warning signs when it comes to their health. New research confirms this isn’t just a myth with 2 in 5 men saying they've put off seeing a doctor until their symptoms were urgent and 1 in 3 men avoiding the doctor altogether out of fear of finding something wrong.
Men also are more likely to smoke, drink and take more risks. Yet a surprising 84% of men rate their health as “excellent” or “good” in a Men’s Health Survey conducted by MDVIP and Ipsos, suggesting that they mistakenly believe they’re healthier than they really are.
“Men are typically on the defensive, waiting for an emergency to happen before seeking medical care — when it’s sometimes too late,” said Dr. Andrea Klemes, chief medical officer at MDVIP. “What they need is to play better offense.”
The key to improving men’s health
What, or rather who, is the key to helping men be more proactive about their health? Women. An impressive 4 in 5 men say their spouse/partner plays an important role in their health and nearly half say they have gone to see a doctor because their spouse/partner insisted on it.
Whether you’re a man who wants to take steps to improve your health, or you have an important man in your life who needs encouragement, here are tips to get the journey started.
Here’s how women can help men get on track
Women make 80% of the health care decisions for their households. If you are a woman, know that you have a lot of influence and that your partner really listens to you. Make sure you bring up any observations or concerns you have about his health, even if it may feel difficult or uncomfortable at first. It could be a matter of life and death.
Here are things you can do:
- Partner with him to make healthier choices such as going for daily walks, cooking nutritious meals and stocking the pantry with healthier snacks.
- Watch for unusual symptoms or changes that might indicate a serious issue, such as a mysterious mole on his back, unexplained pain or fatigue.
- Urge him to see his primary care doctor when something’s amiss, or help him find a physician if he doesn’t already have one. MDVIP’s Find a Doctor tool can help you locate doctors in your area who limit their practice size, allowing them to spend more time with patients compared to traditional practices.
Here's how men can turbo charge their own health
Just as you do regular maintenance on your car to keep it running well, like oil changes and tire rotations, here's what you need to do to minimize your own health issues down the road:
- See your primary care physician for regular preventive care — Schedule an annual check-up where you can ask questions and discuss any health concerns you may have. Make sure you’re up to date on routine lab work and important screenings based on your age and medical history.
- Know your numbers — Learn about key health indicators including your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar levels and body mass index (BMI). All this information can help you understand your risk for heart disease, diabetes and other serious conditions — and help catch problems in early stages when they are much more treatable.
- Take the Men's Health IQ Quiz to find out what you know — and learn what you don’t know — about important factors relating to your health and wellness.
Helping men become more proactive about their health can empower them, and their significant others, to enjoy better wellness and quality of life for years to come. And having women in their corner to support them may be just the prescription men need.
Learn more about men's health and find helpful resources at MDVIP.com/MensHealth.