Ah, the dreaded annual medical exam. It’s a subject most men know, and an appointment that is fiercely avoided. The challenge to our country is how to keep men healthy. If only men could be equally concerned about their overall health as they are about receding hairlines, we would be set.
But why do men only see the doctor when they are really sick? We could perhaps point to the health disparity that exists in our society, often attributed to race, socio-economics and geography. Yet, speaking as a man, it might also just be the fear of the dreaded prostate exam that is the real culprit. How often would we men like to ask the appointment scheduler, “Can you tell me the ring size of the doctor’s index finger?”
Men often see a doctor out of peer pressure or their spouse’s encouragement. The escalating rise of diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases is further evidence that some men only see the doctor when their health is already compromised. While regular self breast exam for women is the norm, we need to promote a simple testicular exam for men of all ages as it can alleviate undue health fears and possible late diagnosis.
As we work toward full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, it is essential that we encourage men to take advantage of preventative benefits.
So men, ask yourself these questions, do you know: your cholesterol levels? Blood pressure? A1c count? BMI? And yes, the PSA level? The lack of this information not only compromises you, the patient, but also your ability to serve as an educator and model for others.
The time of not knowing is over.
This week is National Men’s Health Week. We encourage our male readers to set an appointment for an annual exam if you haven’t had one yet this year.