Wednesday, June 16, 1999

Survey: Men more reluctant to see doctor




BY SUE MacDONALD
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        So, guys. You're feeling well. No obvious health problems. Everything seems to be in working order, right? Good. Call your doctor any way.

        The best time to schedule a checkup, say the organizers of this week's National Men's Health Week, is when you're feeling well.

        Having a good working relationship with a doctor, goes the thinking, means you'll be less scared of seeing a doctor when you're ill, which seems to be something of an issue for men.

        The 1999 Men's Health/CNN survey, conducted as part of National Men's Health Week, found that men are less likely than women to see a doctor for potentially troublesome symptoms that include chest pain, shortness of breath and blurred vision. One-fifth to one-third of men would wait a day or two before making an appointment.

        “This probably explains why so many men end up in the cardiac care unit of hospitals clutching a package of antacid tablets,” says Michael Lafavore, editor of Men's Health, one of the sponsors of the week-long event. “Guys need to learn there's a big difference between getting indigestion from eating too many nachos and a potentially clogged artery.”

        Common reasons for not seeing a doctor include the perceived hassles associated with setting up appointments during work hours, dealing with doctors or health insurers, and lack of insurance coverage and family doctor.

        The most common medical exam men have undergone in the last year? At least half had an eye exam, while 38 percent had cholesterol checked, one-third were screened for cancer and one-fourth were tested for diabetes.

        Men's Health has recommended small changes that can have fairly sizable impacts on a man's health. The advice includes:

        • Wash dishes by hand to burn 94 calories a day (about 9 pounds over the course of a year).

        • Twice a week, eat tuna instead of ham to reduce the risk of heart disease from fatty foods.

        • Call it a workday after seven-nine hours, based on studies showing men who work more than 11 hours a day are 21/2 times more likely to have a heart attack than those who work fewer hours.

        • Eat breakfast every day. Doing so reduces the likelihood you'll eat more later in the day.

        • Drink eight pints of ice water a day (your body burns about 123 calories a day to warm the water to body temperature). When you crave a snack, drink water instead. • Eat 25 grams of fiber a day. It promotes weight loss by keeping the body from digesting fat and protein. Try vegetables, fruit, oat bran and whole grains.

        • Sleepy? Take a nap. Even a 15-minute snooze during the day can increase productivity and concentration.

        • Wear sunscreen every day to protect the skin.

        The week's events are sponsored by the Men's Health Foundation, American Academy of Family Physicians and CNN, which will air special segments about men's health issues.

FREE BOOKLET
        Men who call the National Men's Health Week hot line can get a free copy of the Men's Maintenance Manual, a 32-page booklet that offers stress-reduction, sexual health and nutrition advice, checkup schedules, weight-loss tips and information on the diseases most likely to affect men. For a copy, call (800) 955-2002.

       



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