Why Guys Don't Take Better Care of Themselves

David Bloom was reporting for NBC and covering the Iraq war from his post inside a cramped armored military-recovery vehicle when he died in 2003. He was 39.

Was he caught in crossfire, or was the vehicle he rode in bombed? No. He died from deep vein thrombosis(DVT).

DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in the large arteries of the leg due to long periods of immobility, and then breaks free and lodges in the pulmonary arteries blocking the flow of blood to the heart. DVT sometimes happens to economy class passengers sitting on an airplane for hours upon hours. In Bloom’s case, he had spent days holed up inside a sardine can of a vehicle, sending out his reports while underway.

The saddest part of this story is that he could have lived had he taken the advice of doctors, whom he had consulted just days before his death. Instead, he ignored the advice to seek immediate medical attention, popped a few aspirin, kept on working, and then literally dropped dead. So why did this handsome, well-respected NBC news correspondent, loving husband, and devoted father of three young daughters fail to take his symptoms seriously?

Because that, unfortunately, this is what men do.

According to From Boys to Men - A Woman's Guide to the Health of Husbands, Partners, Sons, Fathers, and Brothers by Emily Senay, M.D., they are more likely to refuse to see a doctor when they get sick. They are less prone to take preventive steps to stay in good shape. And they are less likely to seek the aid of a psychologist if they are depressed. They just plain don’t like to admit that they are vulnerable human beings who can’t always be strong and silent. It’s that same conditioning all boys get growing up: don’t cry, it’s not masculine to show that you’re in pain, just sweat it out, etc. By the time those boys are grown up, the tendency is firmly ingrained.

What does all this have to do with what women want? You know where this is going, don’t you? I’ll say it plain: Women want men to take better care of themselves so they can stop worrying about you. Women don’t want to keep reminding you to go for your annual check-up or to take your vitamins or to renew your prescription or to have your cholesterol checked or to eat better or fifty other things you should be doing but aren’t.

So why do women take on this role? Because that, unfortunately, is what women do.

Women are natural caretakers and can’t help but want to see everyone in the family as fit as they can be. They don’t always want to do it but feel compelled to do it. (And sometimes resent it.)

But there’s a selfish component to it as well. They don’t want to see you keel over in the prime of life like David Bloom did. Women want to be able to have many happy years together with their partner without having to take care of him because he’s got so many issues that finally caught up with him. Or worse, he died young from a heart attack because he never took proper care of himself and now there’s no partner with whom to enjoy the golden years.

Here’s a short list of what women would like to see their guys do:

Have an annual physical once you reach your 40s Check your eating habits. If you smoke, quit. Start exercising regularly. If you drink too much, take steps to cut back. Consider alternative approaches to illness challenges instead of just taking drugs. If you’ve been diagnosed with something, do some research on it. Educate yourself. Don't ignore it. If you’re sick or in pain, go see a doctor. Don’t let job stress get out of hand. Visit the dentist regularly

Some of these suggestions, like eating better, exercising, and quitting smoking could be done together as a couple. Women don’t always have the perfect diet and exercise routine down pat either but couples could make a commitment to change and set goals for a better lifestyle together. What better way to do it than to help each other in the process. Habits take awhile to change but if your partner is there to encourage you, it will be that much easier. If you ignore a serious problem, like diabetes for instance, you will drive your wife or girlfriend CRAZY! Why? Because she loves you and doesn’t want to see you die before your time. And because she doesn’t want the job of being your caretaker in spite of the fact that she feels guilty if she doesn’t do everything she can to help you. It puts her in a terrible position when you ignore an obvious health issue.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, there are 5 behaviors that help elderly men live a hale and independent life past the age of 90: Don't smoke Control your weight Keep your blood pressure under control Get regular exercise Avoid diabetes Good genes then aren't the only consideration for living well into your 80s and 90s.

So aside from the fact that it makes sense for men to take better care of themselves so they will live longer, better lives, men need to consider how their approach to their own health affects their women. When men take good care of themselves, they make for better partners which results in a better relationship and happier women!