Men's Biggest Health Mistakes
How guys often hurt their health
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that men and women are different. Different anatomies, different brains and sometimes, different planets. There is another difference, however, that medical experts say is not one to be celebrated. That is the men's tendency to ignore their health, to a far greater extent than their female counterparts. Since some of the biggest health problems start off as small ones, doctors say it is unfortunate that men make so many of the same mistakes, over and over. To help men avoid these mistakes, our experts have outlined some of the most common men's health misconceptions.
The Strong, Silent TypeAccording to doctors, one of the biggest mistakes that men make is not paying attention to their body's signals. It's not that women are whiners when it comes to their health; however, doctors say they seem to be more attuned to their body and how they're feeling, and more inclined to consult with their physician when something is wrong. Men will often deny pain or other symptoms until it is major, or something no longer works. That's why doctors believe that catching problems early, minor or major, is half the battle, at least for men.
What, Me Worry?Another common problem is men who believe that they are too young or in too good a condition for heart problems, say doctors. In fact, a recent study in the American Heart Association journal Circulation found that 20 percent of men in the study, between the ages of 30 to 34, had advanced, fat-laden plaques in their arteries, the obstructions that can become dislodged and cause a heart attack or stroke. Though these plaques are found more often in people who are obese or who have high cholesterol levels, this is not always the case. They can build silently and significantly, even in people who are otherwise the picture of health, doctors emphasize. As a result, doctors recommend that men begin thinking about their heart health early, with regular blood pressure checks every two years starting at age 18, blood cholesterol checks every five years starting in the 20s and glucose tests to screen for diabetes every three years starting at age 45, earlier if there is a family history.
It's A Man ThingDoctors believe that another common men's health mistake is their failure to perform a regular testicular self-exam as well as take the recommended screenings for prostate cancer, particularly in their younger years. According to physicians, testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American men between the ages of 15 and 35. And, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men. However, both are highly treatable if detected early. As recommended by the American Cancer Society, testicular self-examinations should be performed every month beginning in adolescence. Prostate cancer screenings should begin at age 50, and earlier for men with family history or other risk factors.
The Superman SyndromeMen, far more often than women, end up in hospital emergency rooms as "weekend warriors" — those recreational athletes who just don't know when to quit. Though doctors say these injuries are more common in baby boomers who may be out of shape, men of all ages tend to play hard regardless of what their bodies may be telling them. And, all of this frequently leads to sprains, strains, breaks and tears of all varieties. To avoid injury, doctors recommend that men practice stretching techniques that increase flexibility and range of motion, beginning slowly and stopping when it hurts. In addition to these four big health mistakes, a recently released report by the Centers for Disease Control indicates that men are also more likely to be smokers, binge drinkers, or overweight than women, and are less likely to have health insurance or wear a seat belt, all habits that can lead to big health problems. For that reason, doctors, once again, emphasize the need for men to make their health a priority, rather than an afterthought.
Article Reviewed: June 4, 2013
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