How healthy are the men in your life? Research shows what many take for granted: women visit their doctors more frequently than men. This holds true for adults over 55. The end result can be serious. More women have early diagnoses and preventative treatments, while more men encounter serious complications and problems because they put off such visits. If you’re a male over 55, or are a caregiver for one, it’s not too late to take steps that might extend your life.
A recent Cleveland Clinic survey
shows that 65% of men “tough it out” as long as possible before going to their doctor. For those over 55, it’s less common – but still more than half (59%) put off making an appointment.
Common health risks in older men can include heart disease and unintentional injuries
. InnovAge’s Dr. Randy Ferrance
, medical director for Virginia, focuses on two areas for his male participants in PACE:
- Prostate health. "As men age, they almost invariably have an increase in the size of their prostate. Sometimes that doesn’t cause any issues, but often it causes difficulty with urination," says Dr. Ferrance. If you have an older loved one who has noticed changes or issues with urinating, it is likely a sign to schedule a visit with their doctor.
- Depression. Emotional health is just as important as physical health. “Men are often slow to recognize depression, slower to acknowledge it, and slower yet to discuss it. They are also not very likely to report depression, even when asked,” he explains. Some possible signs of depression include fatigue, loss of interest, change in appetite, and irregular sleep patterns.
Dr. Ferrance backs up the research, saying “Regular doctor visits are so important for early disease prevention.” In addition to making preventive visits a regular habit, he recommends older men eat healthy and get plenty of exercise.