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Memory loss, falls top health concerns of older men

March 13, 2012
by Kevin Kolus
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Impaired mobility, falls and decreased memory function are some of the top health concerns of men aged 55 to 97, according to recently released findings of a Canadian health survey.  

The cross-sectional postal survey of 2,325 older Canadian men led by researchers at the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal found that older men are most concerned with their ability to maintain independence and quality of life.

More than half of respondents fear ailments that would risk compromising independence and quality of life, specifically: mobility impairments (64 percent), memory loss (64 percent), medication side effects (63 percent), vision loss (61 percent), hearing loss (52 percent) and falls (51 percent).

Despite these concerns, survey respondents reported that only a minority of them had received counseling from their healthcare providers on strategies to prevent, screen and treat conditions that could threaten physical and mental health. Respondents reported that risk factors and screening for mobility impairment and memory loss were only discussed with 13 percent and 9 percent of them respectively.

In contrast, more than 80 percent of respondents said they had been provided with information and screening for more severe health problems, such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia and others.

The survey, which received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, was sent to a random sample of 5,000 older men in 2008. The Quebec ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux had requested that studies be conducted in order to better understand men's views of their life concerns as a function of their social roles throughout their lives.

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