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During Stressful Times, Men Urged Not to Ignore Signs of Health Trouble

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Thursday, June 18, 2020   

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- American men have a long history of putting off health checkups.

And as Father's Day draws closer, medical experts in Minnesota say it's time for men to be proactive in protecting their health, especially during stressful times.

Health risks from COVID-19 and the worldwide protests over racial injustice are among the added stressors many people are experiencing in 2020.

Dr. Robert Kantor, UnitedHealthcare of Minnesota's chief medical officer, says for men, there's an adverse effect, especially if they lean on past tendencies.

"They don't seek help when they need to," Kantor points out. "They don't regularly attend to that, addressing their own health. And there's also the choices that they've made throughout their life that puts them at risk."

Kantor says those include bad habits such as excessive drinking and tobacco use.

While COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are evenly split between men and women, a study appearing in the journal Frontiers in Public Health says men are more than twice as likely to die of COVID-19.

And health departments across the U.S. say African-Americans are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. Couple that with tensions over racial injustice and Kantor says there's a heightened possibility of health problems for black men.

Kantor says rather than suppress any concerns over mental well-being or other warning signs, men need to talk things out with a family member and seek professional help.

He says scheduling wellness visits are a good prevention tool, and taking these steps can make it easier to manage day-to-day life.

"There can be changes in how we behave, how we respond, our internal level of stress that we experience," he states.

According to a report issued by the Cleveland Clinic last year, only half of the nearly 1,200 men surveyed said they get regular checkups.

During the pandemic, other surveys indicate men are less likely to wear a mask in public.

Kantor says men need to realize that following that guideline helps protects others from the spread of COVID-19, and that it's not just about protecting themselves.

Disclosure: United Healthcare-Midwest Region contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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