Friday, February 28, 2014
Blame it on machismo, social conditioning, or something in the DNA, but when it comes to their health, many men are notoriously and dangerously neglectful. A persistent ache or pain? Just grin and bear it. Time for an annual checkup? Put it off until there’s more time. Physicians lament that some men take better care of their cars than their own bodies. On average, men die 5.4 years younger than women.
“Part of it is the manly ideal, part of it is fear factor,” explains Steven Lamm, MD, clinical assistant professor of medicine (pictured above left). “They’re afraid the doctor will find something wrong that restricts their work or activities.” The consequence, he adds, is that men—especially those who don’t have a partner to coax or cajole them to visit the doctor—tend to get “lost” in the healthcare system after their pediatric years. During middle age, fully a quarter of them start accumulating metabolic baggage: obesity, high blood pressure, and elevated blood sugar and cholesterol, putting them at risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.