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To Your Health: Men need to be proactive about their health

According to a survey conducted by the Cleveland Clinic, 40 percent of men only go to the doctor when they have a serious health issue; and 57 percent prefer to keep their health concerns to themselves and are not apt to share or discuss their health concerns with anyone, not even their spouses or significant other, or even their physician.

As June’s observance of Men’s Health Awareness Month observance nears its conclusion, here are some staggering statistics to consider.

■ 450,000 men die of cardiovascular disease each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

■ More than 700,000 men are diagnosed with a type of cancer each year; 300,000 of those cases will result in death, according to the Men’s Health Resource Center.

■ 230,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. It’s the second leading cause of death in men, according to Cancer.org.

■ More than 60 percent of adult American men are overweight or obese, according to the National Institutes of Health.

■ Only three out of five men get annual physicals, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

■ Over 40 percent of men only go to the doctor when they think they have a serious medical condition, according to AARP.

■ Men are two times more likely to develop liver disease than women, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

■ Men live an average of five years less than women, according to Lifespan.org.

Race, socioeconomic status and culture play important roles in men’s health and life expectancy. African-American men in the U.S. have a life expectancy of eight years less than Hispanic men and five years less than white men. And American men, whether on a fixed income, living below or at the poverty line or residing in disadvantaged neighborhoods live less than their wealthier counterparts, regardless of race.

Awareness is key to helping men understand the importance of their own health and encourage early detection and treatment of disease.

The time is now to get past the male superhero image when it comes to talking about men’s health. We need to push aside any culture-driven issues such as embarrassment, judgment, shame or discomfort and encourage our boys and men to openly discuss their health. And we need to support our community by decreasing the health equity gap among disadvantaged groups.

Let’s bring the subject of male health into the open by providing educational support, resources and access for all our men and boys so that they may live a healthier life.

Check out the following milestone health screenings by age groups and make an appointment today with your provider.

20s and 30s

■ Testicular self-exam every month

▶ Annual

■ Blood pressure check

▶ Every three years

■ Complete physical exam

■ Cancer screenings, including thyroid, testicles, lymph nodes, mouth and skin

■ Cholesterol test for total, LDL and HDL levels

40s

■ Testicular self-exam every month

▶ Annual

■ Blood pressure check

■ Stool test for colon and rectal cancer

■ Baseline prostate-specific antigen test and digital rectal exam

▶ Every two years

■ Complete physical exam

▶ Every three years

■ Cancer screenings, including thyroid, testicles, lymph nodes, mouth and skin

■ Cholesterol test for total, LDL and HDL levels

50s

■ Testicular self-exam every month

▶ Annually

■ Blood pressure check

■ Stool test for colon and rectal cancer

■ Baseline prostate-specific antigen test and digital rectal exam

▶ Every two years

■ Complete physical exam

▶ Every three years

■ Cancer screenings, including thyroid, testicles, lymph nodes, mouth and skin

■ Cholesterol test for total, LDL and HDL levels

■ Sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy for colon cancers, as recommended by your health care provider

To Your Health is provided by the staff of Boulder City Hospital. For more information, call 702-293-4111, ext. 576, or visit bchcares.org.

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