Prairie Doc Perspective: The vital role that women play in men’s health
A hug when I come home after a long day. A smile that melts my heart. A song and a dance that are spontaneous and carefree. Those are some of the blessings that come to mind when I think about my daughter.
Daughters can be a blessing in so many ways, as can sons of course. However, when it comes to taking care of families, women often play a vital role. Whether it is a young mom with her baby, a concerned wife encouraging her husband to go to the doctor, or a loving daughter preparing her elderly father another meal, women are important for men’s health.
Certainly, men are important for the health and well being of children, spouses, and parents as well. However, women naturally tend to be caregivers and stewards of a family's health. Studies have shown that having a daughter increases their father’s life expectancy, while sons do not statistically contribute to paternal longevity. (Interestingly, having sons or daughters both decrease the life expectancy of their mothers, presumably due to the stress on the body.)
Thus, if one wants to promote men’s health and awareness, one must reach the women!
This November, you may see a few more mustaches than usual, for the annual “No-shave November” sometimes called “Movember” for the “M” from “mustache”, and intended to raise awareness of men’s health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and suicide.
Oftentimes the key to detecting and treating cancer is to catch it early. A preventative physical exam with a primary care provider can allow time to identify a person’s health risk factors and decide on a strategy for screening and detecting disease. This wellness visit should also promote healthy efforts at diet and exercise that may prevent some diseases altogether.
And who is it that often encourages men to get their preventative physical and see the doctor? It’s the mothers, wives, and daughters!
For this “Movember,” I want to give a “thank you” to the women and anyone taking care of the men in their life. Thank you for encouraging them to get their health checked out and seeking help for mental illness. Thank you for being caregivers. Thank you for being a blessing and saving lives.
Andrew Ellsworth, M.D. is part of The Prairie Doc® team of physicians and currently practices family medicine in Brookings, South Dakota. Follow The Prairie Doc® at www.prairiedoc.org and on Facebook.