Are Men Too Confident About Their Health?


Three men talking

Do you consider yourself to be healthier than other men?

If you agree, you’re part of the majority of men who think they’re healthier than others, a recent Harris Poll suggests.

What’s so wrong with confidence in your health? Isn’t feeling good about yourself a good thing? Keep reading to learn why this mindset may lead to overconfidence and poor decision-making when it comes to your health and well-being.

Men: A Skewed Picture of Health?

Have you ever assumed something only to learn that the opposite was true? For better or for worse, perception and reality don’t always line up – though our assumptions often drive our actions.

Joe Santangelo, MD

“It’s important to understand what is actually happening with your health because it may be different than what you assume is happening,” says Joe Santangelo, MD, Munson Healthcare’s Chief Quality and Safety Officer.

Dr. Santangelo shares other providers’ concerns that men may overestimate their health. A recent survey by The Harris Poll showed that 65% of the 900 men polled think they’re healthier than other men (Source: HealthDay).

Aside from being statistically impossible – since the majority of men can’t be healthier than the majority of men – this assumption may be leading to a dangerous trend. The same poll revealed that one-third of men feel that yearly health checkups are unnecessary.

Routine Care: Not Just for Women and Children

Man and his healthcare provider Many men avoid trips to the doctor, including critical routine care visits and screenings that can detect, prevent, and treat underlying diseases. Men do this for a variety of reasons: they may not understand their risk of developing diseases, they may not prioritize their own health, or they may feel that if they’re not having symptoms then they don’t need to see their healthcare provider.  

“Everyone wants to be more active and energetic, avoid threats to their health, and live a longer, healthier life. Regular visits with your healthcare provider can minimize your risks and keep you healthy,” Dr. Santangelo explains.

Men’s Biggest Health Threats

Men face a plethora of health challenges as they age. The biggest threats to men’s health include:

Heart Disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, accounting for nearly one-third of all deaths. Heart disease develops about 10-15 years sooner for men, and men are more likely to die from heart disease at a younger age (Source: American Heart Association).

Cancer. Cancer is the second-leading cause of male deaths. For men, lung, prostate, and colorectal cancers are the leading cause of cancer-related death. The good news? Early screening is available to help detect and treat most cancers.

Injuries. Accidents like falls, fires, and car crashes are another top cause of death for men. Many accidents are avoidable. Working with your family doctor and other recommended specialists can help you build a doable fitness program to build and maintain strength and balance, address vision loss, adjust prescriptions that may lead to dizziness, and make healthier lifestyle choices that significantly reduce your risk of injury.

Stroke. Stroke is a significant health threat to men. Not just life-threatening, stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability, such as limited mobility, speech impairment, and more. Fortunately, four in five strokes are preventable. Knowing your risk and working with your family provider can dramatically reduce your risk of blood clotting that leads to stroke.

COPD. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is largely caused by smoking. The good news is, long-term studies are very optimistic that it’s never too late to stop smoking if that’s a risk factor for you. And your primary care provider can help you find the best resources like smoking cessation, medication, and more that work with your lifestyle.

Diabetes. Diabetes is often referred to as the “silent killer.” Perhaps that’s why one-third of people with type 2 diabetes don’t know they have it. Men are more likely to be unaware if they have diabetes. Men are also more likely to have type 2 diabetes at a lower weight. Additionally, one in three people have prediabetes, a preventable precursor to type 2 diabetes. Your doctor can screen for both prediabetes and diabetes and help prevent or avoid accompanying health issues such as vision loss, kidney complications, loss of a limb, and increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

Other top life threats to men include:

  • Suicide
  • Influenza and pneumonia
  • Kidney disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Men, Don’t Wait for a Health Crisis

Calendar with reminder to schedule an appointment While no news might feel like good news to many men, avoiding trips to the doctor may only worsen potential health threats or health conditions. Many leading causes of death in men are interrelated and share similar risk factors. Knowing your health status is key to long-lasting changes to your lifestyle and strides in your health. Many life-threatening diseases are not only easily detected and treated – they’re also preventable.

Health indicators like blood pressure, A1C, cholesterol, weight, and other important factors can indicate looming or active diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Your healthcare provider can review your personal risk factors, order important screenings to determine your current health status, and partner with you to find solutions that fit your lifestyle.

“And if you’re a partner, a father, an uncle, a son, a brother, or friend, your example may lead the way for others,” Dr. Santangelo shares.

Schedule Your Yearly Checkup

Men sitting on grass and laughing If it’s been more than a year since your last yearly checkup, take the next step by calling your primary care provider. Do you need a provider or you’re searching for a new one? Use our Find-a-Doc tool to find a compatible care provider, close to where you live.


Related Topics:

7 Screenings Men Can’t Live Without

Prediabetes – Are You at Risk?

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

How to Choose a Primary Care Provider