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Men are missing the mark when it comes to managing their personal health. As a result, they are missing opportunities to find and deal with medical problems in their early stages. This is when many conditions are more treatable and less threatening to overall health.

Men have a tendency to seek health care services only in “crisis” situations. They see themselves as strong and healthy enough to skip checkups and recommended screenings. Numerous studies have concluded that men of all ages are less likely than women to seek help for problems. Many men are raised to act tough and independent, so they stay in control and hide their vulnerability. Therefore, they come to view themselves as protected from disease. Men also may fear that others will interpret their nonemergency health care provider’s visits as unmanly or weak. This is especially so if the men around them also avoid preventive medical care.

Leading causes of death for American men include cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, stroke, and diabetes. The risk of developing these conditions can be reduced with a combination of a healthy lifestyle and regular medical care. Many disorders, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, are “silent” illnesses. Routine checkups and screenings are critical for detecting hidden problems and staying healthy.

Time for a New Attitude

Men need to speak with their health care provider about the right method of screening for you. The age at which you begin screening depends on several things, including family history and your ethnic group. You and your health care provider will decide which screening method (physical exam or blood test), if any, is best for your situation.

Men, it’s time to consider showing strength, wisdom, and leadership in a new way. When tempted to delay a medical visit, think about your value as a provider and role model. Taking care of yourself enables you to take care of those who mean the most to you.