The Shifting Landscape of Men’s Health in America
In July of 2001, the CDC conducted a study that yielded troubling results in regards to preventative health care for men. On average, healthy young women are significantly more likely to utilize healthcare resources than men of the same age and stage. In fact, women may be more than 50% more likely to schedule and attend a doctor’s appointment.
While women are encouraged from an early age to pay close attention to their health, and to seek regular screenings, men are often silent on the subject. Despite the social advancements that have been made, a stigma still exists that prevents some men from seeking help for treatable, or even preventable afflictions. Additionally, there is a lack of education in many regards to men’s health. The institution of Men’s Health Month in 1994 served to heighten awareness of male health issues and encourage treatment and prevention of disease for men and boys.
“It’s very important to try to educate our male patients,” Dr. Lewis Kriteman of Georgia Urology said. “A lot of male issues are confusing and sometimes controversial. It’s important that we focus on them with the same urgency as female issues.”
One of the most prevalent risks to men’s health is prostate cancer. Though not the leading cause of male death, prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men can be deadly if not detected and treated in time. Many prostate cancer diagnoses are missed by a blood test alone and it’s so important to examine the prostate with a digits examination as well. Experts differ on the exact age at which men should begin regular screenings, but on average, it is recommended for men age 50 and over. Some ethnicities display higher risk for prostate cancer, as do men with a family history of cancer, and may require screenings at a younger age. Each man is different, so it is helpful to consult your primary care doctor or your urologist. Early detection makes all the difference.
“There can be a fear factor at play with prostate issues and prostate growth, as well as ED and low testosterone,” Kriteman said. “It’s less taboo to talk about it now, so men don’t feel as isolated as they used to. Many of these types of issues are treatable. However, it’s not a quick fix and determining the problem usually requires voiding symptom evaluation. It can take some time to assess these issues properly. But if they do come in, we can help them.”
Dr. Kriteman revealed that his best advice to male patients, especially prostate cancer patients, is to mind their heart health. There is some clinical data supporting medications that may prevent prostate cancer. However, the number one killer of prostate cancer patients is still heart disease, so it’s crucial to focus on this aspect of the patient’s health. As the number one killer of both men and women, it is more important than ever to eat nutritiously, exercise adequately and visit the doctor regularly. These are the most valuable measures that can be taken to avoid future health issues.
“I’d like to see a men’s health clinic for this city,” Kriteman said, discussing his hopes for the future. “I mean one brick and mortar location men can feel comfortable going to and address all of their health concerns at once, be they cardiac, nutritional,
urological, etc. We have lost our way somewhat in providing these types of resources, but things are improving. I think this type of resource is soon coming to the Atlanta area.”
This June, North Fulton Hospital encourages all men and boys to take stock of their health and seek out the resources available to them. Ask questions and be well!