Of the ten most common causes of death facing New Zealanders, men top them all. Many of these deaths may have been prevented, or conditions treated earlier, if men took better care of themselves. And a good way to start is by getting a regular health check.

Next week (June 8-12) is Men’s Health Week and Te Hiku Hauora GP Clinic registered nurse Phil Winnicott encourages all men to be proactive about their health and have regular check-ups with their doctors.

“As men, we have a tendency to think of ourselves as ten foot tall and bulletproof and only go to the doctor when we’re really sick” says Phil. “And on occasion, that might mean that a condition has advanced more than it needed to.”

So why is it that men are less likely to seek a health check from their doctor than women?

Here are some possible reasons:

The feeling that having a health check is not a manly thing to do or the apprehension that they may be laughed at or made fun of by their mates and peers.

Time constraints/work commitments
Men may feel apprehensive about asking their boss for time off. They may feel that if they take time off for a health check they are “letting the team down”. They may not feel they have the time to fit in a health check due to schooling and sporting activities commitments.

Attitude towards health.
Men are, at times, quick to believe that they are immune to serious health issues or have the ‘She’ll be right mate” attitude.
Mike King the kiwi comedian stated, “The number one toxic disease is our attitude. The ‘harden up, stay staunch’ disease of silence is affecting our young men.”

What you can get in a 15 Minute Health Check

Even though 15 minutes may not seem long for a health check, there are several things that can be completed in this time to monitor a man’s health.

Blood pressure, pulse rate, weight, height, smoking status and daily activity levels can all show a man’s risk for a heart attack or stroke.
A blood test is a really simple way of checking one’s sugar levels, cholesterol levels, iron and thyroid levels along with kidney and liver function. When the blood test results come in (usually the next day) the practice nurse can then ring you to discuss the results.

Simple aye?

So come on guys, ‘man up’ and make a health check appointment with your doctor or practice nurse

If not for you, then do it for your whanau.