I say it all the time. “Men are medically underserved.” I’ve shown you the facts to back this up. But what’s the solution? How do we actually plan to get men better medical care?
Tweet About It
Happy to participate in the ABC News Tweet Chat this past week hosted by Dr. Richard Besser and entitled “Man Up For Your Health.” As a men’s health doctor and Movember Spokesperson, I joined physicians and organizations around the country to address the issue what is needed to improve the state of men’s health.
Certainly, the tweet chat itself is a step in the right direction. This social platform is unmatched in elevating awareness—a key ingredient to any campaign that involves half the population. But, more important to me was the theme of this chat: getting men to take the lead in their care. Manning up.
Look in the Mirror and Around You
The points I raised in the chat are fundamental to how men can help themselves.
- Use your belly as a barometer. A big belly is the basis for Metabolic Syndrome, an obvious sign of the “Fantastic Five” silent men killers (heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol). In my view, waist circumference is the fifth vital sign!
- Involve your partners. Most partners of men care more about him than he does. These facts are clear. You wouldn’t believe how many partners make appointments for their men in my office! Partners, friends and family can really help. Men’s health is a team sport. Build your team!
- Start young. What better way to redirect the culture of men’s health than by starting early? How about beginning with boys? Teach them to respect and tend to their bodies as adolescents, and encourage lifelong good health habits. Knowing the sound and feel of a well-oiled machine helps to identify things early when they go awry, well before they become catastrophic.
Forgive me if I sound like a squeaky wheel here but I really do believe that men’s health begins with…men. If I have to leave an old tune into your heads all day today to make the point, I will: think of the MJ song “Man in the Mirror.”