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“Save our Black Men”

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“Save our Black Men”

May 27, 2022  “Save our Black Men”   

 

Once you make an observation, you have an obligation.  M. K. Asante. 

As a nurse and trainer I made an observation that our black men were dying because of their neglect of their own health and well being. Whether it’s tough-guy bravado, FEAR, or an attitude of “ignorance is bliss,” not seeing a doctor is jeopardizing men’s health especially our black men. It’s a huge public health problem that we don’t pay enough attention to. I am following through on that obligation by initiating Men’s Health Month at TFC to encourage men to stop making excuses and start making changes. How is Tadda’s Fitness going to make in impact? Every Saturday in the month of June all classes are FREE for all men. Additionally, I, with my registered nurse hat on, will be on hand to do Fit3D body scans which provide a wealth of information about what is happening inside of a person. I will also be taking the time to read over client’s lab work and if you have not had any lab work done in a while you can get your lab work done in less than 5 minutes and nurse Tadda will help you map out a plan for your health and fitness.  

Black men in the United States suffer worse health than any other racial group in America. For example, as a group, Black men have the lowest life expectancy and the highest death rate from specific causes compared to both men and women of other racial and ethnic groups. Check out these statistics:

Statistically speaking, Black men live seven years less than men of other racial groups. They also have higher death rates than Black women for all leading causes of death. Black men have a higher incidence and a higher rate of death from oral cancer, and have a much higher risk of developing HIV/AIDS in their lifetime. 

Other Health Statistics 

  • 44% of Black men are considered overweight/obese  
  • Black men suffer more preventable oral diseases that are treatable 
  • Black men have a higher incidence of diabetes and prostate cancer 
  • Black men have a high suicide rate; it's the third leading cause of death in 15- to 24-year-olds 

Women are much proactive about their health than men. This may sound harsh, but this complacency is killing our men. Far too many men die or experience compromised quality of life because of preventable diseases. Compared with women, men avoid going to the doctor, skip more recommended screenings and practice riskier behavior. 

As a fitness trainer and RN, I have had to care for many male clients who initially refuse transport to the hospital even while in the middle of a crisis. In many cases I have had to ask family members to help convince the patient to go to the hospital. Having witnessed this extreme avoidance of medical care firsthand I have found that   a lot of men simply have the attitude of, “I don’t need to see a doctor.” 

One reason for this attitude, may be the fact that many men convince themselves their condition will improve on its own, not wanting to “bother” a doctor in the meantime or be a burden to their family. There are often a few other things contributing as well: fear, superhero syndrome, and the fact that “vulnerability sucks.” 

A client this week just shared with me a traumatic incident that just happened to him and the number one reason he said he avoided going to the doctor was because of fear. “They worry about a bad diagnosis or a bad outcome.” 

Iatrophobia, or fear of doctors, is surprisingly common today. Most of us do not particularly enjoy going to the doctor. From the often-long waits to the cold sterile environment to the possibility of a painful procedure, doctor visits can cause anxiety in nearly anyone. For some people, however, normal anxiety gives way to outright panic. 

For some people, going to a medical appointment can be a source of great stress. It’s not just major medical problems and procedures that cause stress, either. Even preventive care visits, routine vaccinations, and basic care can cause some people to have a fear of going to the doctor. 

Then there is the superhero syndrome or tough guy bravado, where men want to see themselves as forever strong and capable of handling anything. “They see going to the doctor as a weakness.” 

Another reason is a lot of men just don't like talking about their health, even when they do see a doctor. One in 5 men have admitted they haven't been completely honest with their physicians. Common reasons included embarrassment or discomfort with discussing certain issues and not wanting to be told that they should change their diets or lifestyle. Some said they didn't mention a health concern because they weren't ready to face a troubling diagnosis, or because they didn't want to be judged or have to face the fact that their lifestyle got them into that situation. 

For older men, there is a particular reluctance to discuss erectile dysfunction and urinary problems. These are important symptoms to address, however, since erectile dysfunction can be a sign of other health conditions, including heart disease and poorly controlled diabetes. And while difficulty urinating can be normal as the prostate grows with age it can also be caused by a tumor; catching it early can be crucial for treatment. 

Getting healthier starts with changing your mindset. I personally know that old habits die hard and that making a lifestyle change is one of the most difficult things you can do. 

That's why we really encourage guys to get in and be seen before they have symptoms. To use an analogy that most men can relate to, our bodies are a lot like our cars. We’ll take the time to do preventative maintenance on our cars, getting tune-ups but we often don’t take same type of care of our bodies. Just think we rotate our tires; change our oil, change the filters, etc. What you don't want to do is wait until there's smoke coming out from under the hood or the car stops running altogether. The same thing goes for men's health. Where there is smoke, there is fire and TFC is ready to put it out! 

We’re asking mothers, wives, sisters, and friends to encourage the men in their lives to be more proactive about their health. By working together, we can move the statistics in a more positive direction and close the gap in black men’s health. No Mess


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