3 Health Concerns Top the List for Older MenPosted by Medicare Made Clear
Scan your doctor’s brochure rack or search “men’s health” on the internet. You will likely see common topics, such as heart disease and prostate cancer. These are important things to know about. But do they address your main health concerns?
What Men Really Want
A study by the Department of Health and Aging, Université de Montréal, asked Canadian men aged 55 to 97 about their health concerns. Close to half of the 5000 men surveyed answered the questions. The results appear in Aging Male (2011, Nov 21).
The study shows that the top three health concerns of older men are:
- Mobility impairment
- Memory loss
- Medication side effects
Concerns about vision loss, hearing loss and falls closely follow the top three.
This suggests that health issues linked to independence and quality of life are most important to older men. This isn’t so different from what older women are concerned about. Older Canadian women completed a similar survey. The results were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2005.
What Doctors Do
The study also suggests that men’s biggest health concerns tend to have the lowest screening or counseling rates. For example, 13% of the men answering the survey said their doctor gave them information about risk factors and screening for mobility impairment. Just 9% said they got this information about memory loss. Incontinence, osteoporosis, anxiety issues and depression are other top men’s health concerns that could be receiving too little attention in the doctor’s office.
Why do these gaps in care exist? It may be difficult for both patients and doctors to bring up what can be sensitive topics. In addition, doctor visits can be too short to get into this type of discussion.
What You Can Do
The patient-doctor relationship is a two-way street. You may get more from your doctor visits when you do your part to make them successful.
A little preparation before your doctor visits could help. You might make a list of the things you want to talk about. You could also read up on any health concerns you have. This may help you decide what questions you want to ask. You may even want to share the health information you find with your doctor.
When discussing sensitive subjects with your doctor:
- Be open and honest.
- Use brochures or booklets to help introduce topics that you may feel uncomfortable bringing up.
- If you feel your doctor isn’t listening or meeting your needs, you may want to change doctors.
Your health concerns deserve your doctor’s attention—and yours. Many of your concerns may be prevented or treated. But first they have to be revealed.
What will you talk with your doctor about at your next Wellness Visit?
For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.