Thursday, July 24, 2008

Real Men Wear Gowns

So... it turns out I'll look at anything that shows a woman wearing a veil and a white dress.

I was browsing through today and noticed an ad off on the sidebar that showed a woman wearing a veil. The ad read, "Real men wear gowns," and standing in front of her was a man wearing ... not a wedding gown, but a hospital gown.

Weddings AND health? Now you've got my interest!

I clicked on over, and it brought me to the website of AHRQ (the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), which I am already familiar with (they publish healthcare data and put out guidelines for preventive health screening; I use their electronic preventive services selector on my PDA regularly). But I hadn't heard about this health campaign before.

Real Men Wear Gowns is aimed at middle-aged men, it appears (based on the images, information, and videos), but its message is important for all men. It shows guys doing normal things -- playing with their kids, walking their daughters down the aisle, dancing with their wives -- while wearing a hospital gown. You can watch the videos here.

A screenshot from one of the videos.

Men are notorious, as a group, for not going to the doctor until they're very sick -- at which point, valuable opportunities to prevent disease onset or provide early treatment have been lost. It's a stereotype -- but one I've seen numerous times -- to have a male patient say, when asked why he came to the office/ER, "I wasn't going to, but my wife made me." And these are guys who often are in the midst of a serious problem -- like an active heart attack!

Too often, men try to "bear the pain," or "see if it will go away." But they shouldn't. Know the warning signs of heart attacks and strokes, and get screened regularly for overweight/obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension, colorectal cancer, STDs and HIV, depression, and AAA. Tell your fiance, brother, father, FFIL, and anyone else you know the importance of these tests. Really.

It's perfectly reasonable for a young person to have a cholesterol test done once before the age of 25 -- you should know your cholesterol score! It's better to start cutting out a cheeseburger a week and replacing it with something high in fiber now than it is to wait until you're 40 and have 20 years of damage built up.

And women, don't think you're out of the loop; there is a site for Real Women, too. Get Pap tests regularly, get the HPV vaccine, and see an Ob/Gyn before you get pregnant -- there are a lot of things that ideally should be done before a woman gets pregnant, but since so many pregnancies are unplanned, they aren't done until the first obstetrical visit. Start taking a folic acid supplement now; there's no reason not to. And of course, get all the same screening tests as the men -- hypertension, high cholesterol, colorectal cancer, HIV, etc.

Because you're planning to marry your sweetheart for life, and I know you want it to be a long and healthy one.


PharmacistMike said...

Even though many preventive screenings test are available for home use men still lag behind women in receiving their preventive screenings. Real men should be wearing gowns a lot more often

hwong14 said...

Absolutely! I couldn't agree more. Thanks for stopping by; you're doing great work yourself!