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PUBLISHED: 4:46 PM on Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Week highlights men's health issues
SITKA - Men change the batteries on their smoke detectors every six months and they take their car in for a tune-up every 15,000 miles. But most men go years without seeing a doctor.

National Men's Health Week takes place this week through June 17, and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium WISEGUYS men's health group encourages every adult male resident of Southeast Alaska to schedule an annual check-up.

Getting regular check-ups can help men protect their family, and regular check-ups can ensure men will be around to enjoy those special moments in life - graduations, weddings and spending time with the grandchildren.

Most men's health conditions can be treated if they're caught early but many men ignore their health until major problems develop.

According to Dr. David Gremillion of the Men's Health Network, America is facing a silent health crisis, and it's that, on average, American men live sicker and die younger than American women.

In 1920, women lived just one year longer than men. Even though men live longer than they did in 1920, the gap has grown and now men die almost six years earlier than women.

The main reason for this change is because of successful programs targeting women's health. Men die at higher rates than women from the nation's top-10 causes of death, and men are the victims in more than 92 percent of all fatal workplace accidents.

Women are more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men. There also are distinct health concerns for men, such as testicular and prostate cancer.

National Men's Health Week is designed to help break down some of the barriers related to men's health.

There is a national awareness campaign to let men learn about health concerns and risk factors that are specific to men, and to promote early health screenings.

At the same time, the Men's Health Network is working on national issues such as better insurance coverage and access to health care for men.

"National Men's Health Week is a good time for men, women, children, everyone, to stop and consider the health of the men in our lives," said SEARHC Health Educator Doug Osborne, who coordinates the SEARHC WISEGUYS men's health group.

"When you look at the statistics, you see that the health status of men has significant room for improvement. We all can play a part in turning that around, and this is a good week to take the next step."

For information on the SEARHC WISEGUYS program, contact Doug Osborne at 966-8734 or doug.osborne@searhc.org. To schedule a check-up, contact your local SEARHC provider. For more information on the Men's Health Network, go to http://www.menshealthnetwork.org.


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