Federal Research On Men's Health Issues Bringing About Changes
Seven of 10
Americans who haven't visited a doctor in the last 5 years are men,
according to research. Men are less likely than women to be screened
regularly for high blood pressure, cholesterol, and cancers, according
to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
men's health include diseases or aspects of health care delivery that
are either unique to men, or more prevalent in men, the AHRQ says.
The AHRQ has
as a major goal to bring about improvements in the Nation's health care
system by translating the results of research into everyday clinical
practice and public policy.
Here is some of the work that is coming out of AHRQ research projects on the subject of men's health:
of health status measurement instruments. Sixty percent of urologists
now use a scientifically valid patient questionnaire, developed with
AHRQ support, to measure the symptoms and quality of life for elderly
men with benign prostate disease. This instrument has changed the way
urologists and other practitioners work with patients to make their
health care decisions.
treatments in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH is a nonmalignant
condition that can cause chronic urinary problems, sometimes leading to
surgery. Although surgery can be effective in helping men with moderate
symptoms of BPH, nonsurgical treatments such as watchful waiting are
safe choices for men less bothered by these problems. This research led
to a 50-percent decrease in rates of surgery for BPH during the 1990s.
Misuse of PSA
(prostate-specific antigen) blood screening tests. Half of all PSA
tests are performed on patients outside the optimal age range or
performed too often. The use of PSA tests to screen for prostate cancer
is controversial since some benign prostate conditions also give a
positive result and the benefits of treatment are uncertain.
predictive instrument. AHRQ funded the development of a special
software tool that can help emergency room doctors using
electrocardiographs (ECGs) predict more quickly if a patient is having
a heart attack and whether he should receive drugs that help prevent
repeat attacks. This tool could prevent 200,000 unnecessary
hospitalizations and more than 100,000 admissions to cardiac care units
yearly, saving $728 million.
units. Special hospital units for diagnosing and treating chest pain
are now more common in big city hospitals following AHRQ research that
showed treatment within 24 hours of a heart attack has the greatest
effect on long-term survival. These chest pain units have reduced the
rate of missed heart attack diagnoses, from 4.5 percent to 0.04
percent, and saved nearly $3 million.
reduce chance of stroke. Giving older patients with atrial
fibrillation-rapid and erraticheart beat-a blood-thinning drug called
warfarin reduces their odds of having a stroke. Subsequent to AHRQ
research, Medicare Peer Review Organizations implemented projects in 42
states to increase anticoagulation rates in certain categories of
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), http://www.ahrq.gov.