We all know that men are not as proactive as women when it comes to their health and a recent national survey confirms that fact. The survey, conducted by Abbott and Men’s Health Network, found that men take the backseat when it comes to managing their health issues. In fact, they may be turning a blind eye to some important health risks that could worsen and lead to serious health problems if left untreated.
Drive For Five, a campaign by Abbott in partnership with Men’s Health Network was launched on September 12, 2012 to create awareness and encourage men to take a more proactive approach to their health. The campaign will also educate the public about five important health risks for men: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and low testosterone. Drive for Five is backed by men’s health expert Dr. Steven Lamm and legendary racecar champion Terry Labonte.
Kimaya Dixit, Editor, TAMH Blog caught up with the two Drive for Five ambassadors for a quick chat.
KD: Terry, can you tell us a little about what the Drive For Five campaign is all about?
Terry: Drive for Five is a new men’s health campaign from Abbott, a company which is taking a lead in men’s health education and awareness. Dr. Lamm and I are both represent Drive for Five, which encourages men to take a more proactive approach to their health and learn about five important health risks for men. We want to give men information that may help them have more productive conversations with their doctors during annual check-ups. I know from my own personal experience of having avoided the doctor for too long that it’s important to get in the driver’s seat and take charge of your health.
KD: Dr. Lamm, what are some of the health risks to men and why are regular checkups the key in being healthy?
Dr. Lamm: While there are a number of health conditions for which men are at risk, the Drive for Five campaign is encouraging men to, at least, know about these five important health risks: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, high PSA and low testosterone. These health risks can have unrecognizable or confusing symptoms (or no symptoms at all), which, when left untreated, can worsen and potentially lead to serious health consequences. Annual check-ups are important because they allow healthcare providers to regularly assess health risks like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These check-ups also provide the time to discuss health risks that some men may not think about, such as high blood sugar and low testosterone levels.
KD: What made you get involved in the Drive For Five Campaign?
Terry: As a former racecar driver, I know that cars are things men relate to. What men need to do is approach their own health like a road trip — for example, before a trip, we make sure we have filled up the gas tank, we gather maps or use the GPS to direct our journey, and ensure the car is in good working order. With our cars, we plan ahead to avoid problems down the road, so why don’t we do that for our health? Drive for Five helps put men on the right track by providing easy to understand, practical materials, such as questions to ask your doctor.
KD: I’m very interested in the new national survery that was conducted by Abbott and Men’s Health Network. What does it show?
Dr. Lamm: Interestingly, this national survey of more than 2,000 men age 18 and older showed that more than 60 percent of men considered themselves “semi-proactive about health,” only responding to medical emergencies when needed and admittedly not on top of annual doctor visits and preventative medicine. More than half (52 percent) of men say they usually see a doctor when something needs to be “fixed,” and the majority (63 percent) reported that prolonged, severe pain is the main “breaking point” for when they will visit the doctor – bleeding, vomiting or itching alone won’t do it for most men. This really demonstrates a need for men to take a more proactive approach when it comes to their health as well as a need for increased education and awareness.
KD: Where can we get more information on the campaign?
Terry: You can get all the information you need by visiting www.DriveForFive.com
KD: Thank you so much for your time. It was great learning about Drive For Five and all it has to offer!