Man overboard encouraging men to seek healthcare 1260x542

Man overboard: encouraging men to seek healthcare

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Why is it that men suffer higher rates of illness, yet are less likely to visit a doctor? Check out these clever strategies to help motivate men to seek out more medical help, by nutritionist and personal trainer Andrew Cate.

Men's health is beginning to gain more attention in Australia, which is important when you consider the statistics that show men's health is in a worse state than women's.

We know that:

  • Males are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than females across almost all age groups. 
  • 2 in 3 adult men are classified as overweight or obese in Australia. 
  • 1 in 2 men will develop coronary heart disease in their lifetime.

The greatest health risk of all

Men are less likely to visit their doctor than women. They are less likely than women to have a preventative health screening, and they spend less time with their doctor when they do actually visit.

Men often see themselves as strong, independent and self-reliant. To admit to having pain or some other problem could be seen as a confession of weakness or vulnerability. It threatens male pride, and it's thought that you should be able to ‘shake off' any health concerns. Unless men are facing a health crisis, many will simply soldier on.

Many men feel they should be able to solve their own problems and are reluctant to seek help. But this places their health at risk, reducing their chances of preventing potential illness, or improving their management of illness through early detection.

Getting men to visit their doctor

With so many serious illnesses now largely preventable, it's important to find ways to encourage men to develop a relationship with their doctor, even if they're not on deaths door. Here are some strategies that may help to break down the barriers that prevent men from accessing health services.

  • Men often don't feel comfortable talking about health issues. Write down beforehand any symptoms, changes, concerns and questions that are worth mentioning to the doctor.
  • Don't go it alone. Some men are more cooperative if their partner or other family members are present.
  • Parenthood is a time when values change, and new responsibilities increase for men. This is also a good time for men to re-connect with health services and providers.
  • Improve men's motivation to seek medical help by making them aware of the illnesses they are most likely to suffer from, and at what age preventative tests should be taken.

Check it – a man's guide to check-ups

  • Blood pressure – Every year after the age of 40
  • Cholesterol – Once at 30, then every five years following. Every two years if you have a family history.
  • Bowel cancer – Once at 50, then every 5 years.
  • Prostate – Once at 50, then every two years.
  • Skin cancer – Every year, or any time you notice any changes in your skin (blemishes, lesions, itching).
  • Testicular cancer – Self examine monthly for small, hard, pea sizes lumps.

Extra protection for your heart

Research4 has shown that supplementing with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) may boost antioxidant enzymes and improve endothelial function to improve cardiovascular health. Endothelial function refers to a thin layer of cells that line the interior surface of the entire circulatory system. When functioning well, these cells improve the flow of blood.


References available on request

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Anonymous 05 Jun 2014