It might be easier getting dad to tune up the car rather than get himself checked out. But as Father’s Day approaches, health care providers stress the importance of preventive care as the perfect gift for keeping him going.
According to a 2010 Harvard Medical School report and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over the course of the past decade, women in this country outlived their male counterparts by an average of five years and, furthermore, three times as many women reported having visited the doctor over the course of a year for a general exam as men.
That stark comparison between men’s and women’s yearly doctor’s visits didn’t shock Gena Weinhold, nurse practitioner at Massac Memorial Hospital, one bit. In fact, it’s an all too common sight.
“We have wives that drag their spouses in and they will talk to me as we go for a check-up and say, ‘He won’t tell you this, but you need to know this,’” she said. “I think it’s just how it’s always been with men.”
As this week marks National Men’s Health week, physicians across the country are shining the spotlight on men’s health, seeking to promote awareness about the ill effects of potential medical ailments left unvoiced with the family doctor.
Identifying common disorders early can dispel the possibility of chronic complications later in life. Left untreated, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and diabetes can lead to drastic cardiovascular complications such as heart disease and stroke, Weinhold said.
Compounding concerns, men with a family history of medical issues shouldn’t skip yearly doctor’s visits that monitor such potential problems, Weinhold said. And unless there is a family history of medical disorders, men should have a prostate-specific antigen test to check for signs of prostate cancer and a colonoscopy at 50.
“If you catch any of that early on, the better off you are for treatment,” Weinhold said.
Illinois’ new top doctor echoed the same message at a Men’s Health Week speech earlier in the week. LaMar Hasbrouck, Illinois Department of Public Health director, encouraged men with overdue medical appointments to take the time to schedule a checkup and said this week is a chance for all men to start taking their health seriously.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Call Will Pinkston, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676.