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Memo to Men: To Live Longer, Take Better Care of Your Body
Date:12/22/2010

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- As a general rule, men take lousy care of their health.

They shrug off injuries. They hate going to the doctor for anything. They pay little heed to warning signs for major health issues.

And the results of all that manliness are evident in the statistics. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

  • One in five American men has heart disease.
  • One in three adult men in the United States has high blood pressure.
  • Three in four American men are overweight.

Men overall are less healthy and have a shorter life span than women, according to the Men's Health Network, a national nonprofit group that promotes healthy living for men. And more than half of all premature deaths among men are preventable.

"Men are leading in nine out of the top 10 causes of death," said Scott Williams, vice president of the network. "I feel like we're starting behind where health is concerned, compared to women."

The main way men can improve the length and quality of their lives, Williams said, is to start taking a personal interest in their health.

"If you look at the data, women are 100 percent more likely than men to seek preventative care," he said. "It's really scary."

The first step is to schedule an appointment with a doctor for a full physical examination. "A tremendous percentage of men do not see the doctor," said Armin Brott, a talk-show host and author who co-wrote the Blueprint for Men's Health for the Men's Health Network.

And when meeting with the doctor, be sure to ask questions. Ask what tests and screenings are appropriate for a man your age, and what are your potential risk factors for major diseases.

Men should also bring up any long-term problems they have, no matter how embarrassing or private the problem might be. And experts agree that men need to b
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