You may have heard statistics over the years discussing the life expectancy of women often being five or more years longer than that of men. So why do men trail behind so significantly in life expectancy?
For many men, preventable illnesses are often a threat that is not recognized early enough. Because of this, Men’s Health Month was established in 1994 to shine a light on annual screenings for men.
How often are men visiting the doctor?
Compared to women, men are less likely to visit their primary care providers each year (based on 2016 information from the CDC).
Males age 18 to 44 – 41.5% visit a provider in a year
Females 18 to 44 – 59.9%
Males 45 to 64 – 38.9%
Females 45 to 64 – 44.6%
A number of preventable illnesses can be caught during the key age range of 45 to 64. We can assume that more frequent (and earlier) screening of common preventable illnesses may result in an increased life expectancy for men.
What visits should men attend?
The easiest way for men to ensure they are seen by a provider each year is an annual physical. Your annual visit is a great time for you to discuss any upcoming screenings or immunizations you may need. This is a good starting point to point you in the right direction with your care.
What particular illnesses should men pay attention to?
Many of the most common causes of death impact men at a greater rate than women.
“Diseases of the Heart” (such as heart attacks) is the cause of death in 209 of 100,000 American men, compared to 130 of 100,000 women.
Screenings at your doctor’s office can help notify you of your risk for developing heart-related health complications or other illnesses that can be identified via screenings. Often times the earlier these risk factors are identified, the better you can adapt to lessen or reverse the disease.
How does physical activity play a role?
Stay active goes a long way in decreasing health complications for both men and women. A 2008 CDC study revealed only 57.6% of men were receiving their recommended daily amount of physical activity.
Somewhat in correlation to this, 40.5% of men over the age of 20 were reported to be obese based on a 2015 – 2018 CDC study. Additionally, among this same group of men, 51.9% currently have high blood pressure or are taking antihypertensive medications.
Where can you start to make improvements in your health?
Schedule your annual visit! Many insurance plans will cover a significant portion of the physicals cost once per year. You can set up a physical with a Williams Integracare provider or your primary care provider.
While it is estimated about 13% of men under the age of 65 do not have any health care coverage, many clinics (Integracare included) offer cash discounts for patients without insurance who pay at the time of service.
Lastly, making an effort to exercise more and eat healthier can make a big difference in your health. If you are currently smoking, then quitting can help reduce your risk of a number of illnesses.
Take time this month to focus on improving your health!