According to the CDC, women are twice as likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men are.
“Speaking as a man, speaking as a father, a son, and as a husband — I would agree with the fact that men generally don’t like to go to the doctor,” says Dr. Ira Michaelson, a Trinity Health gastroenterologist.
“The great American killer today, in 2019, is still coronary artery disease,” Michaelson says. “We lose a million a year to coronary disease.”
Dr. Michaelson said the disease is a result of lifestyle — for example, poor diet and lack of physical activity. He said those bad habits have also been linked to many other diseases or conditions. “Lifestyle has now made us a nation where one out of three is diabetic and where one out of three now has fatty liver, which is the precursor to liver cirrhosis,” he says. “So it’s the ‘great’ lifestyle that we lead.”
June is Men’s Health Month. It’s meant to draw attention to preventable health problems that men can face.
Dr. Michaelson said the number one way for most men to improve their health is simple .. get to to the doctor. “Get regular check-ups, even when you’re feeling well,” he says. “Just as we have cars and trucks and get them oiled and get the battery checked, et cetera, I think it’s important to take care of the body.”
He said general advice is to stay away from fatty and processed foods, be conscious of calories consumed in drinks, and work towards some sort of physical activity every day — especially cardio.
Exercise physiologist Tori Trosen said that’s important to remember since most men seem to favor strength training instead. “Cardio increases the ability to move oxygen in the body, so once you start increasing the capacity for your heart to work harder, your heart can move more oxygen and more nutrients throughout the body,” says Trosen.
Another reminder from Dr. Michaelson: listen to your body. If something seems off, get it checked out.
On average, men die five years younger than women according to health-dot-gov.
Dr. Michaelson stressed that an annual check-up is the best way to stay healthy since it leads to early detection, screenings, and treatment.