A new national survey by Cleveland Clinic reveals a disconnect between the sexes when it comes to staying on top of their health.
In two online surveys among approximately 2,000 U.S. men and women 18 years or older, Cleveland Clinic found that 83 percent of women* said they encourage their spouse/significant other to get their health checked once a year, however, 30 percent of men believe that they don’t need to go because they are “healthy.”
The survey was issued as part of Cleveland Clinic’s third annual educational campaign, “MENtion It®,” which aims to address the fact that men often do not “MENtion” health issues or take steps to prevent them. This year for the first time, Cleveland Clinic surveyed women in addition to men to try to understand how mothers, wives, spouses/significant others, daughters and friends can encourage the men in their lives to stay healthy.
“When it comes to the health of their husbands, fathers, brothers, or sons, women are often times the health decision-maker in the family,” said Eric Klein, M.D., chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute. “Many of our male patients admit to only seeing their doctor after their significant other has encouraged them to go. We wanted to make sure we captured their point of view on men’s health since they play such an important role.”
Key survey findings:
- Six-in-ten (61 percent) men have neglected visiting a doctor even when they needed to go.
- Only about half (47 percent) of men under the age of 35 regularly do testicular self-exams.
- More than half (56 percent) of men prefer to keep health concerns to themselves and not share them with anyone.
- Discussing sexual health conditions with their partner is particularly taboo: Two-in-five men with live-in partners would not discuss painful erections (41 percent) and/or frequent erectile dysfunction (43 percent) with their partner
One common ground the survey found among men and women is that both sexes turn to the internet as much as their doctor when a health concern comes up: just as many men and women research their symptoms online (27 percent of men and 27 percent of women) or consult a doctor when first noticing changes in their health (27 percent of men and 26 percent of women). Additionally, most men (88 percent) and women (85 percent) with live-in partners agree that it is important to discuss health concerns with their partner, but few men (15 percent) and women (14 percent) reported that they share their health changes with their spouse/significant other, first.
“We want to educate men about health issues that might seem insignificant but could actually be an indicator of a larger health problem,” said Dr. Klein. “For example, frequent urination at night might just seem annoying but it can also be reflective of conditions other than prostate enlargement, such as sleep apnea, which can be associated with an increased risk of heart disease.”
*refers to women who live with a male significant other/spouse
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Visit www.clevelandclinic.org/MENtionit for more information about men’s health and important preventive steps every man can take.