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Men’s Health Month Target: "Silent Health Crisis"

Women still are far more likely than men to get regular medical checkups. (BrooksCraft/Getty Images)
Women still are far more likely than men to get regular medical checkups. (BrooksCraft/Getty Images)
June 7, 2017

MADISON, Wis. - According to the Men's Health Network, there is a silent health crisis in America: On average, American men are sicker and die younger than American women.

June is Men's Health Month, and Dr. Patrick Remington, associate dean for public health at the University of Wisconsin's School of Medicine and Public Health, said men could do some fairly simple things to improve their health. While he acknowledged that women do live longer than men, he added that men are closing the gap.

"Still, on average, women outlive men by about seven years," he said, "and some of that is related to healthy habits, some of it's related to going to the doctor more for checkups, and some of it may be related just to biology. Women seem to be less likely to get a heart attack than men."

Statistics show men are twice as likely as women to have a heart attack. By age 100, women outnumber men eight to one. Remington said something as simple as making an appointment for a general checkup could help men live more healthy and longer lives.

It remains a fact that women are twice as likely as men to visit a doctor for a checkup or annual exam. Remington said there are a number of reasons that women visit with their doctor far more than men.

"Women may be more likely to go in for preventive care because they've been used to it during the reproductive years," he said. "Pap tests or mammograms are provided, whereas there are fewer preventive checkups recommended for men."

One of the reasons men are four times as likely to commit suicide as are women is that depression in men is largely undiagnosed, he said. Often, to their detriment, men simply don't want to share their feelings with a medical professional. Remington said men need to overcome that hesitance and begin an honest dialog with their physician.

"Spend time with your provider talking about how to improve your health, how to live a healthier lifestyle," he said, "but also how to treat problems such as depression, or to improve your risk factors to reduce the chance of getting cancer or having a heart attack."

The Men's Health Network, one resource to help men get on the right track, is online at menshealthnetwork.org.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI