June Is Men’s Health Month 

By Elaine Herscher, Senior Editor

This month it’s good to be reminded of the importance of health screenings and self-care. To that end, LifeLong’s Dr. Desmond Carson is on a mission to get more men to go to the doctor. Read the statistics and it’s easy to see why. When Cleveland Clinic surveyed men about how they approach their medical treatment, the results were startling:   

  • 72 percent of respondents said they would rather be doing household chores, like cleaning toilets, than going to the doctor.  
  • 65 percent said they avoid going to the doctor as long as possible.  
  • 20 percent admitted they aren’t always honest with their doctors about their health.  
  • 37 percent said they had withheld information from their doctors in the past, specifically because they weren’t ready to deal with the potential diagnosis that might result if they told the truth.  

Dr. Carson, LifeLong’s Medical Director for Urgent Care, calls this male syndrome the “duct-tape approach.” For instance, men are more likely than women to find a readily available treatment at home when they experience a symptom such as shortness of breath, an ache, or a pain. They might take an Ibuprofen, rest up a bit, or reach for some topical pain relief like Bengay (the “duct tape”) and hang on until the symptom goes away. Next time it reappears, they apply more “duct tape.” 

Dr. Carson would like to educate the broader community about the dangers of avoiding medical care, particularly older Black men. He cites the top five causes of death for Black men ages 45 to 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: heart disease, cancer, injuries, diabetes, and stroke.  

“Preventive care and early detection could save many more men’s lives,” he says. “An annual checkup could go a long way toward catching conditions before they become deadly. The number one thing men can do to improve their health is to quit smoking,” he says emphatically.  

But even with that, avoiding the doctor isn’t doing them any favors. “When I ask my male patients what took them so long to come in, a lot of them say they were afraid of a bad diagnosis. Or they think they’re superheroes who are strong and should be able to handle everything on their own. They see medical attention as a sign of vulnerability,” Dr. Carson says. 

In honor of Men’s Health Month here are ways to help and support men’s health journey: 

  • Get regular checkups  
  • Get cancer prevention screenings 
  • Eat healthy  
  • Get regular exercise  
  • Don’t smoke or quit smoking  
  • Reduce stress  
  • Seek help for depression or other mental health issues 
  • Know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack 

Source: ‘Men’s Health Month’ raises awareness beneficial to men all year long – Healthy Boiler – Purdue University 

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