The best way for men to take care of themselves is to actively take part in their health care. But new research suggests that men who subscribe to macho ideals may be less likely to do so.
Masculine Ideals and Medical Care
Little is known about the effect of traditional masculine ideals on seeking health care. To determine how these macho beliefs affect men's decisions about routine health care, researchers analyzed data from surveys taken in 2004 by more than 1,000 middle-age men in Wisconsin.
Beliefs regarding masculinity were assessed based on men's level of agreement with each of eight statements. The statements included "When a man is feeling pain, he should not let it show" and "A man should always try to project an air of confidence even if he really doesn't feel confident inside."
The men also reported whether they had received an annual physical, prostate exam, or flu shot in the past 12 months.
The 25 percent of men who were most devoted to traditional beliefs about masculinity were compared with the rest of the men who held less macho beliefs. The researchers found that the macho men were half as likely as the others to get the recommended routine medical care.
However, there was one exception to the rule. Blue-collar workers who had a high attachment to masculinity were more likely than their moderate peers to get the recommended health care.
The study authors conclude that these results provide evidence that strong endorsement of macho ideals reduces the odds that men will obtain recommended preventive health services.
It's important to see your doctor for routine screening tests. These tests can find diseases early, when they're easiest to treat. During your next visit, give your doctor as much information as you can about your medical history and any medicine you're taking. Also, be sure to tell your doctor about any problems that you may be having, even if they are embarrassing. Don't worry-your doctor has heard it all before. All of this information can help your doctor determine which medical tests you may need.
Talk with your doctor about these routine tests:
So man up and visit your doctor to learn which preventive medical tests you should get. And make routine medical care part of your game plan to stay healthy.
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Testosterone is more than a one-hit wonder. While this hormone's role in regulating sex drive is widely known, it affects other aspects of health, too. Check what you know about testosterone with this quick quiz.
Are These Statements True or False?
1. Men experience "male menopause." True False
2. Erectile dysfunction is almost always caused by low testosterone. True False
3. Low testosterone may be a sign of diabetes. True False
4. Fatigue can be a symptom of low testosterone in men. True False
Check Your Answers
1. False. It hasn't been proven that men go through a type of menopause, or what some call andropause. But it's being studied. Doctors do know that low testosterone levels occur in nearly one of every four men older than age 30, according to a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
2. False. Poor circulation is the cause of men's sexual problems in many cases.
3. True. Low testosterone levels may predict if men will develop diabetes. Many men with low testosterone also are obese, which raises their diabetes risk.
4. True. Other symptoms of low testosterone include mood changes, weakness, and loss of sex drive. Symptoms can be treated with testosterone replacement therapy.