Women’s involvement is critical in improving the state of men’s health. Women typically pay better attention to their health than men and can help men to adopt healthier habits.
Some of the problems facing men’s health can be solved within an individual family with a few simple changes. Other problems need to be addressed by society at large and require the support of women not only in the family, but also as health care providers, activists, authors, and contributors to social values and attitudes.
Working women understand the difficulties men face in taking time off to get to doctor’s appointments all too well. Women can also relate to the tendency of many men to put their family’s health above their own. However, the obstacles men face in admitting health problems to a doctor can be surprising or seem strange from a female perspective.
Most men are taught from an early age to cope quietly with pain instead of telling others about their ailments. Being told, either by family or peers, that big boys don’t cry over skinned knees often leads to reluctance to seek medical attention for health afflictions decades later, especially if symptoms are related to sexual health or not plainly visible.
Warning Signs to Watch Out For
Women can save lives by looking for and recognizing the signs of common health problems affecting men. Take Ashley Marlowe’s case for example: recognizing chest pain and difficulty breathing as a sign of heart problems, Ashley encouraged her husband to see a doctor. He continuously protested, but undeterred, Ashley called an ambulance when the symptoms grew worse. Her husband was shocked to learn that he had had an advanced heart attack. If it hadn’t been for Ashley’s timely actions, her husband’s life would have been in grave danger.
For a list of common illnesses affecting men and their telltale symptoms, please visit Blueprint for Men’s Health and go to page 10.
Defense Against the Silent Killers
Not all health problems have symptoms that will be noticeable to a man’s partner. Even men who are the picture of health can be in a losing battle with prostate cancer, diabetes, or other silent killers. The best way to detect these kinds of illnesses is by getting regular checkups.
Doctor Jean Bonhomme suggests that women try to bring their partners into the “family health schedule” if he feels that seeing a doctor when nothing is visibly wrong is a waste of time or money. When the father sees the rest of family getting physicals every August, he might be willing to join in order to help set a good example for the children.