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Men urged to take better care of health
Groups urge men to take charge of their health

Date published: 6/21/2009

BY JANET MARSHALL

Men die younger and in greater numbers than women from heart disease, cancer and other diseases. They're less likely than women to have insurance, more likely to engage in risky behavior and more likely to put off going to the doctor.

These are just a few of the distinctions drawn in "Blue-print for Men's Health: A Guide to Healthy Living," a publication put out by the Washington, D.C.-based Men's Health Network.

It's one of many resources promoted by the group as part of Men's Health Month, which takes place each June.

"More than half of premature deaths among men are preventable," the guide says. "But you can't prevent a problem if you don't know it exists."

The Men's Health Network exists to help men become better advocates for their own health--and it does that partly by encouraging loved ones to prod them along.

The group says men should check in with a doctor--and their partners should urge them to do so--if they experience any of the following problems:

Changes in bowel or bladder habits, which can be a sign of prostate or bladder problems.

Impotence or erectile dysfunction, which can stem from an underlying problem such as diabetes, high blood pressure or clogged arteries.

Depression, which can include lost interest in pleasurable activities, feelings of hopelessness and trouble sleeping.

The group also encourages men to get checked out when they suffer from persistent back aches, nagging coughs, unexplained weight loss and recurrent pain--all of which can be signs of a serious problem.

The group isn't alone in encouraging men to take charge of their health. The American Diabetes Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others also have health-advocacy campaigns geared toward men.

The CDC even has electronic greeting cards with messages such as, "Because every day is a special day, take care of yourself--I love you more than words can say!"

To learn more about men's health issues, visit:

menshealthnetwork.org

mayoclinic.com

cdc.gov

Janet Marshall: 540/374-5527
Email: jmarshall@freelancestar.com