How Annual Examinations Can Save Lives: Men’s Health Edition
If you've been seeing a lot of men growing moustaches this time of the year, it might be because they're taking part in the Movember Foundation's global initiative to recognize November as Men's Health Awareness Month. Aside from being a fundraising effort, it also highlights the pivotal role of preventative healthcare, like annual health examinations, in the early detection and treatment of diseases in men and boys.
Let’s take a look at the essential health screenings for men and the critical statistics that are powering this need for increased awareness.
Men Are Less Likely to See a Doctor Than Women
Over the years, many studies have established that men are hesitant to talk about their health – more so book a doctor's appointment without their spouse’s urging. In a recent national survey by the Cleveland Clinic, they found that:
- Of 1,174 adult men surveyed, only 50% said they get medical checkups regularly, and 72% said they would rather do household chores, such as cleaning the bathroom or mowing the lawn, than go to the doctor.
- The majority of men, or 82%, said they try their best to stay strong and live longer for their families who rely on them, but only half of them take the necessary preventative healthcare steps.
- Around 77% of men who are married or in a domestic partnership would rather go shopping with their wife or significant other than go to the doctor.
- About 41% of men grew up being told that they should not complain about their health issues during their childhood.
- Approximately 20% revealed they have not been completely honest during their doctor's appointments. The reasons are either because they were embarrassed (46%), refused to hear that they have to make lifestyle and diet changes (36%), and were afraid, not yet ready, or would rather not know if something was wrong (37%).
The Benefits of Getting Annual Examinations for Men’s Health
Getting yourself checked regularly is one of the biggest and most important tenets of preventative healthcare. Whether you're feeling well, seeing a doctor at least once a year has many benefits, including:
- Routine screenings can spot potential health issues before the onset of symptoms.
- Early detection of treatable and preventable diseases often results in a better prognosis and higher chances of recovery.
- They could minimize the risk of expensive medical treatments or surgery.
- Having a clean bill of health can give you and your loved ones peace of mind.
- It reduces unnecessary worrying and anxiety about the state of your health.
- Your doctor can give you a better and clearer perspective on how to take a proactive approach in lowering your chances of developing certain illnesses that you may be at risk for or are concerned about.
Essential Health Screenings for Men
An annual physical exam can look different for everyone because it is customized according to your age, known risk factors, and unique medical history. When you come in for your appointment, your doctor will do an initial assessment and recommend screenings or laboratory tests they deem necessary. This will be the basis for your personalized treatment or wellness recommendations.
Here are some examples of tests included in men's preventive health screening charts:
Measuring blood pressure is one of the many ways to identify if a person is at risk for hypertension, heart disease, kidney disease, or strokes. The average blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmHg. Individuals who are overweight, heavy smokers, and drinkers of alcohol have a higher susceptibility to hypertension, a biomarker for cardiovascular diseases.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that all adults over 35 have their cholesterol checked every five years. According to the Mayo Clinic, a healthy total cholesterol goal should not exceed 200 mg/dL. High LDL or harmful cholesterol levels are also associated with coronary heart disease, angina, and strokes.
Blood Sugar Tests
Suppose you're obese and have a high blood pressure of over 135/80 mm Hg. In that case, your doctor may want to rule out the possibility of diabetes and recommend that you get a hemoglobin A1C blood test, a fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test, or an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Blood Test
If you are between 55 and 69 years old, your doctor will prescribe a PSA blood test and possibly a digital rectal exam to effectively screen for prostate cancer. It's the fourth most common cancer in Canada and the top type of cancer in men. Preventative health care is highly critical for this illness. With early intervention, the chances of surviving prostate cancer at least five years after diagnosis is about 93% in Canada.
Men and women are equally at risk for colon cancer when they reach their 50s. However, this disease has a higher chance of progressing in men because they are more likely to avoid a colonoscopy and other relevant screening tests. According to the New York Gastroenterology survey, 63% of men are too embarrassed or afraid, while the remaining 35% refuse to do the test prep.
Skin Check by a Dermatologist
Melanoma is more prevalent in men by the age of 50 than in women. By the time they reach 65, the risk becomes double and triple at 80. Experts believe that men's skin may be inherently more vulnerable to sun damage than women, plus most of them may neglect the importance of applying sunscreen correctly. Suppose you notice any changes in your skin, such as irregular moles, scaly patches, or numerous actinic keratoses growths. In that case, your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist who can make a definitive diagnosis.
The Boardwalk Pharmacy’s Vital Role in Preventative Health Care
This Men’s Health Awareness Month, get yourself checked. Better yet, encourage the people you know – dads, brothers, sons, and male friends or colleagues – to get their annual screening, too.
The Boardwalk Pharmacy is here to help. Whatever product your doctor recommends to improve your health, we’ve got you covered – from premium-quality vitamins and health supplements and smoking cessation products to preventative maintenance prescription drugs for a wide range of medical conditions.
Click here to browse our online pharmacy.