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Men: Are You Ready to Take Charge of Your Health?

with Jennifer Foss, RN

Today's Healthy Outlook 
Jennifer Foss, RN

(ARA) - Ever wonder why women live longer than men? It may be more than just genetics. It seems that men are behind when it comes to responsibility for their own health. In fact, many men may depend on the women in their lives to help look out for their health. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that when a wife works at a job more than 40 hours a week, her husband's chance of being in good or excellent health declines by more than 25 percent. So what can men do to take control of their own health? Here are some simple suggestions. 

Get Comfortable 

It's no wonder women may feel more comfortable visiting the doctor. Besides their own exams, many women also accompany their children and husbands to the doctor. Men, on the other hand, may cringe at the thought of a tongue depressor or cower at the mere mention of a paper robe. If a man is uncomfortable going to the doctor, he may be less likely to ask questions, point out symptoms or push for tests. According to a survey sponsored by Men's Health magazine and CNN, 25 percent of men said they even lie to their doctors, because they are afraid the doctors will get mad, they fear bad news or they're just embarrassed. 

If you're an apprehensive male patient, it's important to find a physician with whom you can feel at ease and trust. Ask your male friends and relatives for recommendations. Then, before your appointment, write a list of questions so you won't forget to ask the doctor anything important. 

Read Up 

A man is more likely to recognize health problems and symptoms if he knows what they are; but as studies show, men don't seek out health issues. It's important that men learn the signs and symptoms of common male health problems. 

- Learn the signs of heart disease. 

- Find out what a healthy blood pressure reading is and what your cholesterol levels should be. 

- Read up on the symptoms of testicular cancer, impotence and other conditions. 

- Most diseases have risk factors and recommended screening guidelines. Find - out how often you should be screened for prostate cancer and colon cancer. 

- Compile a family health history, so you're aware of your genetic risks for certain diseases. 

Shake the Stereotypes 

From an early age, our culture tells little boys that "boys don't cry" and "take it like a man." So, it shouldn't be surprising that grown men aren't as willing to talk about sensitive health problems. A man is not weak because he follows a healthful diet, takes vitamins, adopts an exercise program or gets yearly physicals. Men must shake the stereotypes to take control of their health. 

Courtesy of ARA Content,, e-mail: 

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you would like to run "Talking About Health" as a regular weekly column sponsored by a local health care institution, contact Jim Larranaga at 1-800-727-6397. 


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