By Alicia Wanek
You may remember the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Published originally in 1992, the premise of the book was based on the idea that certain fundamental psychological differences between men and women were analogous to being from two different planets, and understanding those differences improved your communication and relationships with members of the opposite sex.
In much the same way, understanding our fundamental differences can improve the way we approach our health. Biological, behavioral, and social influences can greatly impact lifespan and long-term quality of life. Factors from anatomy to diet to increased work stress all impact men’s health in particular. In an article from Harvard Health Publishing at Harvard Medical School originally published in 2010 and updated in 2019 entitled Mars vs. Venus: The Gender Gap in Health, some of the greatest disparities are pointed out. “Men die younger than women, and they are more burdened by illness during life. They fall ill at a younger age and have more chronic illnesses than women … Although women see doctors more often than men, men cost our society much more for medical care beyond age 65.”
Clearly, men need to focus on their health.
Preventative care is a must, and early detection of any disease improves long-term prognosis.
As the world of radiology becomes more precise and accessible, an ever-expanding selection of imaging options are offered to help gain information so patients and their physicians can make decisions about health care and general wellness. Envision Imaging, with multiple locations across North Texas, offers imaging services specifically to meet the needs of men and women. It is just as important for women to consider which imaging techniques they could benefit from. The fact is, however, that they are more likely to do so already.
Women are often more accustomed to wellness screenings and preventative care; they are more likely to take children to annual check-ups, are used to annual well-woman exams and mammograms, and are more likely to seek medical advice. The Harvard article reports, “According to a major survey conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, three times as many men as women had not seen a doctor in the previous year; more than half of all men had not had a physical exam or cholesterol test in the previous year.” Women may need to be the ones to give the men in their lives a gentle push to access imaging services.
Envision has identified radiologic procedures from which men could benefit. For example, 3T magnetic resonance imaging, which creates magnetic fields twice as powerful as traditional MRIs, is especially useful for examining the prostate.
Routine prostate exams should begin as early as age 45 if you have a family history of prostate cancer.
There are several procedures that both men and women should consider, including bone density screening, cardiac and vascular imaging, and breast imaging (men can get breast cancer, too!). Men and women, especially those who have smoked during their lifetime, may benefit from low-dose CT lung screening as well. Nuclear medicine using radiotracers that are injected, swallowed, or inhaled can examine organ function including lungs, thyroid, heart, or even brain.
I’ve heard it said, “Everybody is different, and every body is different.” When it comes to taking care of yourself and watching out for that special someone in your life, make sure you both know exactly what is going on in your bodies. Mars or Venus, you want to live your best life on this planet for a long time.
Editor’s Note: For more information about preventative imaging options, visit www.envrad.com.