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Live Healthy, Atlanta! Thought Leader Uncategorized

Married men live longer than their single counterparts. Men in general can take health for granted, need “medical home base.”

David Martin

Martin Report

September 1, 2014

Married men live longer than their single counterparts. Men in general can take health for granted, need “medical home base.”

For all that they do for us, we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the function of our bodies. Consider everything we ask of our bodies on a daily basis. We expect that our bodies will do all that we require without much complaint. What do we do on behalf of our bodies? Often, we skip nutritious meals in favor of something quick and easy. We brush off aches and pains, when we really ought to give our bodies a break by taking it easy. At one time or another, most of us are guilty of expecting good health to continue without putting in the requisite effort. We need to be proactive about our health instead of reacting when we stop feeling well.

Men and women alike are guilty of not caring for ourselves as well as we should. But on average, women do a better job of recognizing and reporting ill health. Men, on the other hand, are much more likely to ignore possible warning signs and symptoms. Odd aches, pains, or irregularities are filed under ‘probably nothing’ and promptly forgotten. In part, we are all defined by our health – confined as we are to our bodies. Why, then are men so prone to make little of their health?

Men tend to skip preventative care, opting instead to go to the doctor only when they were already sick. According to one survey, even when men do get sick, 92 percent of men will only head to the doctor’s office after they’ve taken a few days to see if they’d get better on their own. If all you’re suffering is a case of allergies or a cold, this isn’t a terrible strategy. The only downside may be your own prolonged misery while waiting on prescription allergy medication. But for more serious symptoms or illnesses, the longer you wait, the harder it is to treat what’s ailing you.

Men skip the doctor for a variety of reasons, including high cost and busy schedules. Another culprit is good old-fashioned stoicism. One way to combat reluctance to go the doctor is to find a primary care physician you like. Do a few consults and get a sense of which doctor makes you feel comfortable and is easy for you to communicate with. In all stages of life, having a ‘medical home base’ makes getting good medical care easier, but it’s especially important as we age. A doctor who knows you is more likely to notice subtle changes and help you keep track of changing health needs. (Make sure you can get to your doctor easily. If they’re not readily accessible to you, they’re not going to be of much use.)

The health outcomes for single and married men provide a bit of insight about men’s health, too. Various studies have found that married men may live longer than their single counterparts. That’s probably because married men are more likely to exercise, eat better and go to the doctor. Married men are also less likely to suffer from depression, smoke, drink in excess or engage in risky behaviors. If you’re single, don’t despair. The reasons married men are (potentially) prone to outlive the unhitched stem from community. Health is a partnership, not just between you and your doctor. Listen to your friends and family. Don’t put off a visit to the doctor; take care of your health.

Ready to become proactive about your health? The CDC’s website is a good starting place. Another great resource? The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Their list of preventative screenings for men is a must read and a good way to start your health checklist. So get going! Take charge of your health and encourage other men to do the same. And the next time you feel sick, spare yourself an extra day of discomfort and call the doctor’s office pronto.

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