Men’s Health Week Revisited – Why so many men are diagnosed too late and Free or Cost Effective Health Screening.

men's healthOne of the main reasons that men will die from the top killer diseases such as cardiovascular, cancer and diabetes is late diagnosis.

I took a look at some of the surveys about why men were more reluctant to go to the doctor and the main reasons do seem to be time and money.

I know the feeling and it really was brought home to me when looking after my mother full time for the last two years of her life. I was locked into a schedule and it was tough enough much of the time to get an appointment for my mother to get a home visit on an emergency basis. If I had a health issue there was a three week waiting list unless I was willing to pay a private fee. On the one or two occasions when I felt it would be reassuring to get medical advice I decided to use walk-in health centres.

They offer extended hours well into the evening and at weekends. They provide basic testing facilities, an appointment within a couple of hours with a senior nurse and then onto a doctor should the symptoms need further examination. The bigger centres have X-ray facilities and a laboratory attached. You can be out of there in a few hours at most with a diagnosis, referral if needed or a prescription.

Three weeks is a long time to wait if you are stressed about your health and it is worth taking a book and sitting there at 8.00pm. for a couple of hours for an early diagnosis and peace of mind.

Pharmacies

There are also several pharmacy chains in the UK who offer health screening and I have provided links to those at the end of the post. Many of the tests are also free and are conducted in a private consultation room with a trained advisor. If any of the tests raise a red flag you will of course be advised to make an appointment with a doctor.

The advantage being that you can arrive for your appointment already armed with the test results. If those results are seriously over the average measurements then you can ask for the earliest emergency appointment. If that is not forthcoming then head to the nearest walk-in centre. A prescription to lower dangerously high blood pressure immediately could save your life.

Here are some of the most common reasons why men are less likely to consult a doctor than a woman. Some of the reasons, such as lack of insurance, will be common to everyone.

Surveys are not carved in stone but looking at those available it would seem that these are some of the top reasons men do not go to the doctor.

  1. Unless it is a broken bone or something physically obvious many men will say ‘I’m fine’ and ignore symptoms. This may well be an instinctive response. To show weakness throughout most of human history would have made the males in particular appear vulnerable.
  2. Also there is the little problem in the UK at the moment of appointments being unavailable immediately with some patients waiting for as long as four weeks. Find an alternative such as a walk in centre or pharmacy. Serious health issues have a way of putting time into perspective. Deal with it early and save time later. This also applies to the next reason.
  3. ‘I have not got the time!’ Total test time once a year would be approximately 30 to 60 minutes tops. Make the time as it could save you months or even years of ill health or even death. So how much time do you have now?
  4. You don’t have insurance. In the US this is more prevalent in countries with socialised medicine but is obviously very valid. However, getting tested can be Free in some pharmacies in the US. Certainly resolving health issues early is a great deal cheaper than waiting until surgery or long term treatment is required.
  5. There is no one backing you up. Some men would prefer to call this nagging but having a second opinion is important. If you are around someone every day they will notice a difference in your weight, eating habits, moods and physical appearance. They’re input could encourage earlier intervention.
  6. Fear of the test procedures.. Certainly one or two of the examinations are less than enjoyable however, what would you prefer? Early detection of an enlarged prostate that can be treated with medication or problems that require surgery down the line!

Pharmacies that provide health screening services. Some examples for the UK but many countries now have pharmacies offering free screening or at a very reasonable cost.

Google – Free Health Screening – and your country or state.

https://www.lloydspharmacy.com/en/info/free-diabetes-test Free

https://www.lloydspharmacy.com/en/info/cholesterol-heart-check-service £15

https://www.lloydspharmacy.com/en/info/BPTService Free

http://www.boots.com/en/Pharmacy-Health/Health-pharmacy-services/Pharmacy-services-support/NHS-Health-Check-Service/ Free

United States.

It is more difficult to find free health screening in the US but here are some links that give you information. The best bet is to check for health fairs in your state where companies will offer free screening.

http://www.cvshealth.com/content/cvs-health-announces-major-expansion-cvspharmacys-annual-free-health-screening-campaign

http://savvysenior.org/freehealthscreenings.htm

Home screening kits. Around £100 for these three (These will raise flags if outside normal parameters and you should then consult your doctor as soon as possible). We have all of these and check them every six months.

http://www.boots.com/en/Electrical/Electrical-Health/Blood-glucose-monitors/

http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/cholesterol-home-test-kits

http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/BloodPressureandyou/Homemonitoring/Choosingyourmonitor

The message is very clear however. Time and money mean very little if you leave it too late to enjoy them! #GETCHECKED

Here is a  reminder of the excellent campaign fronted by Samual L. Jackson.

Thanks for stopping by and next time a guest post by Geoff Le Pard on the importance of early diagnosis.

Please share and spread the message as far and wide as possible. Thanks Sally

 

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