Since we are probably all familiar with at least some basic components of Prevention and Wellness (a kind of nebulous term, don't you think?), I thought it would be good to bring up health problems that are specific to men. As a woman, this is something that isn't exactly on my radar, so we'll be learning together!
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has created a site called Healthy Men that provides educational information for men's health issues. There's no denying that health concerns differ between the genders. The site tells us:
- Men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year and are 22 percent more likely to have neglected their cholesterol tests.
- Men are 28 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for congestive heart failure.
- Men are 32 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for long-term complications of diabetes and are more than twice as likely than women to have a leg or foot amputated due to complications related to diabetes.
- Men are 24 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for pneumonia that could have been prevented by getting an immunization.
Think of how often we see campaigns to increase screening and awareness about cervical cancer, breast cancer, and other women's issues. Heck, the pink ribbon overtakes our entire society every October. But when was the last time that you heard someone speak candidly about prostate cancer, amputation, or even ED (although that was quite a phase when Bob Dole started discussing it)?
As a card-carrying feminist, I believe I have the right to assert that everyone's health issues should be considered equal; although we ought to acknowledge that men have certain advantages because of their gender (and women have other advantages), we should also recognize that the patriarchy works against some men, as well. I doubt that many have access to appropriate screening or medical care results in poorer urban and rural areas
... and yet, in my public health curriculum, I hear almost nothing about interventions involving grown men. Women and children, yes, or the entire population of an area. But when was the last time we read an article for class, or discussed a program, that was targeted toward men's health? Again, although we may have this concept that the patriarchy allows all men to access all available resources, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Strangely enough, maybe it is time for us to start acknowledging the unique health problems faced by men, which are often exacerbated by their refusal to visit doctors. Let's not forget that public health is here for all of us. Even the feminists can rally around that.