Men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor in the last year. Why do I bring that up now? Because June was Men’s Health Month. And men need all the reminders we healthcare professionals can deliver. In all my years at CHI, I’ve seen how often our South Florida patient base reflects the nationwide pattern. Men are slow to seek medical advice and help, despite today’s improved and effective procedures. Men at least should be screened for such common problems as diabetes; high blood pressure; high cholesterol; prostate, colorectal and skin cancers; and HIV and sexually transmitted infections.
Too many men adopt a so-so approach to good health care at an early age and change little all the way to retirement age. That casual approach to prevention puts a larger burden on the health care system. The worse cases involve violence and addiction. Today’s economic conditions add to the “silent crisis” many men go through as they try to tough it out at home and at work.
It’s common for the issue to spread to friends and family. Women see the impact on the important men in their lives who put off seeking medical help. That neglect creates another statistic — women outlive men by more than five years. Older women are three times more likely to be living alone. There are more women in nursing homes and more living in poverty, because their husband died early. There’s another burden on the health care system — those widows more likely need public assistance. And I’m sure that many would like to have had their husband around for those later years.
Take a look at the good information at <www.health.nih.gov>. The National Institutes of Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency. Its mission is to research living systems and apply their findings to enhance health and reduce illness and disabilities. Each institute provides readers with the health information and assistance they need.
We at CHI care, too, and we have many services that could improve the lives of South Florida men and boys. If it’s been too long, please see a doctor soon.
Community Health of South Florida (CHI) is a non-profit organization providing affordable quality health care to residents of south Miami-Dade and Monroe County. For more information, <visit www.chisouthfl.org>.
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