Men: Being the strong, silent type may work for you if you’re the hero in a Hollywood movie, but when it comes to your health — not so much.
Men are 40% more likely than women to die from cancer, and 57% more likely to die from diabetes, says the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF). That’s partly because men tend to wait longer than women do before seeking medical attention. And since research has shown that 70% of men’s health issues are preventable, it’s a very good idea for men to start paying closer attention to their health — and for the women in their lives to encourage them to do so.
Along with eating well and getting plenty of exercise, one very good way for men to keep an eye on their health is to be screened. Screening is designed to catch diseases in their earliest and most treatable stages by testing large numbers of people who may not yet display any symptoms. Some of these screening methods are very simple; others require a bit more effort. They range from the blood pressure testers in drugstores (the results of which should be verified by a visit to your doctor), to mass diabetes screenings organized by employers and other organizations, to the tests for prostate and colon cancer that your doctor routinely orders when you reach a certain age. Especially for men who don’t spend a lot of time thinking about their health, there are a lot of diseases to watch for, and a lot of screening tests to keep track of.
A new option is You Check, a fast, free, anonymous online tool that assesses a man’s risk of serious illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, depression, erectile dysfunction, prostate cancer, low testosterone and osteoporosis, all at once. Through a few simple questions, it’s programmed to analyze medical factors, family history and symptoms to produce a personal risk profile and make recommendations such as visiting a physician if necessary.
You Check is the result of years of work by the Men’s Health Initiative of British Columbia, begun in 2009 by the University of British Columbia. Its research and development were supported by funding provided by Sun Life Financial.
“We are proud to support You Check as a way to bring early attention to the risk factors of certain diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle for Canadian men,” says Paul Joliat, Assistant Vice-President, Philanthropy and Sponsorships at Sun Life Financial. “As part of our philanthropic support, primarily aimed at diabetes awareness and prevention, we’re thrilled to be part of an initiative that could make all the difference in someone’s life.”
Work is currently underway on a version for women.
Meanwhile, men can help reduce their chances of death from disease by getting screened — online, at work or through their doctors.
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