According to a report released this week by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Agency, men are 24% less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year. In addition, men are about 30% more likely than women to be hospitalized for preventable conditions such as congestive heart failure and complications from diabetes.
"These new data indicate men are not visiting their physicians as often as they probably should," said Joshua Meyerson, MD, Medical Director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. "Part of our responsibility as fathers and husbands is keeping ourselves healthy. Sometimes it takes a family effort to gently nudge men to map out steps to do the right thing for their health and well-being."
The Men's Preventive Health Campaign highlights the work of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of experts in primary care that systematically reviews evidence of effectiveness and makes recommendations for appropriate clinical screening based on patients' risk factors.
Meyerson says men's (and women's) first step to taking care of their health is to learn about their risk factors. "Risk factors are things in your life that increase your chances of getting a certain disease. Some risk factors you can't change, like your age or family history. But many are in your control."
First, find out what you can do to lower your risk factors and improve your overall health. Next, find out how often you should see a doctor for routine checkups and what screenings, tests, and vaccines you might need. "By taking these steps, you will feel good knowing you are doing all you can to take charge of your health," said Meyerson.The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends men talk to their doctors about these screening tests to find out which ones apply to them and how often they should be tested:
The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For additional information about men's health, contact your health care provider or visit the Health Department website at www.nwhealth.org to download "Men: Stay Healthy at Any Age: Your Checklist for Health".