Did you know that 34.6% of men aged 20 and older are obese? Or that 31.6% have hypertension? Pair those stats with the fact that women are almost 100% more likely to seek preventive care than men, and you have a population in need of more attention–STAT!
So, why is it that men often don’t make their healthcare a priority? The National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI) actually conducted a study on this very issue in 1999. They gathered a focus group of active physicians in private practice and traced 3 themes:
1) Men tend to seek support for their health concerns indirectly. In other words, men often talk to their female partners about the state of their health, rather than making an appointment with their doctor.
2) They seek help for more specific problems, rather than for general health concerns or preventive care. Perceived vulnerability, fear and denial are often powerful influencers in this decision to seek help.
3) Personal and systematic barriers interfere with seeking care. These personal barriers can include the perception of certain social role characteristics (e.g. immunity and immortality), difficulty with releasing control, the belief that seeking care is unacceptable, the requirement to state a reason for a visit and the difficulty with finding a male health care provider.
These themes should certainly be considered when educating men on the importance of seeking care, simply because the risks of not seeking are already too great. Many dangerous conditions do not show clear signs and symptoms until the condition has become more severe. For example, high blood pressure and high cholesterol generally show few, if any, signs that they are present, but they are closely linked to cardiovascular disease and heart attack, the number one cause of death in males. But, if these signs and symptoms are caught early, the risk of greater illness and even death decreases significantly. In fact, greater use of preventive services and screenings could prevent thousands of deaths per year that are related to cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions.
So, what steps can men take to better engage with preventive services? Oscar Insurance has provided this easy road map to quality preventive care at any age. They also provide many New York and New Jersey health insurance plans with tools that allow men to take their health into their own hands, like their Doctor-on-Call service. It lets members call their physician right through the Oscar app without having to actually make an appointment if it’s not needed! If they have a health question, their doctor will always be on call with Oscar. As you’ll see in this guide, better health can be as easy as a simple screening. Find your age bracket below to take the next step toward a healthier you!