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Making Men’s Health a Priority

Would it surprise you to learn that men use health care services in the U.S. much less than women? In fact,a survey from the American Academy of Family Physicians found that more than half of all men surveyed have not seen their primary care physician in the past year.

“All too often, life gets in the way of being proactive about our health,” said Josh M. Randall, MD, board-certified urologist at Mission Hospital. “Men in particular are more likely to skip their preventive care appointments due to work, school and family life, and delay seeking medical care until an issue is severe.

” While men may not visit the doctor’s office as often as women, the good news is that men are healthier today than they were 10 years ago due to a higher level of education and public awareness about the importance of preventive screenings. The women in their lives also play a big role, many times making their doctors’ appointments.

“It doesn’t matter how we get them here, the important thing is that we see healthy men — especially in their 50s and older — and help them understand that this is the age where we start to see a much higher incidence of many different diseases,” Dr. Randall said. “We can catch something early when patients appear healthy and come in for a check-up. If they make an appointment once they experience symptoms, oftentimes the disease is advanced by the time it is diagnosed.”

According to Dr. Randall, men should schedule a wellness appointment with their primary care physician every year, and are recommended to start screening for prostate cancer and colon cancer at age 50. If there is a family history of either, then they should start screening at age 45. “Thanks to an increase in doctor’s visits and preventive screenings, we’ve been able to decrease the morbidity rates of diabetes, heart disease, prostate cancer, colon cancer and others,” he said.

Men, it’s important to make your health a priority. Don’t wait until you get a diagnosis from a doctor to make some positive changes to some negative habits — make it a priority to eat regular and healthy meals; watch your portions; work out at least 30 minutes, five days a week; and commit to getting eight hours of sleep a night. And if you need to lose weight, even shedding a few pounds can reduce your risk of many dangerous diseases. To find a physician, visit mission4health.com/ Find-a-Doctor.aspx.