Men still avoid the doctor

Compared to women, more men avoid going to the doctor, skip recommended health checks and engage in riskier behaviors. As a result, they also live with more years of poor health and die about five years earlier than women.

A national survey by the Cleveland Clinic has revealed a gender segregation when it comes to our health. showed that more than 60% of men did not see a healthcare provider even when they needed to. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the situation.

Unfortunately, the stereotype persists that men should be ‘strict,’ and going to the doctor is a sign of weakness. James T Jennings, MD, family medicine physician and medical director, Norton Community Medical Associates. “This puts men’s lives at risk.”

Men need to get physically every year to monitor their health. A physical exam includes a review of health and family history, medications, allergies, preventive exams, immunizations, lab work, and an exam.

“At about age 40, we’ll be discussing prostate and colon cancer risks, which vary with race and family history,” said Dr. Jennings. “The provider can discuss the correct types of checks and when they are needed based on these variables.”

For patients aged 20 to 40 years, a testicular examination should be discussed or performed during the physical examination. Testicular cancer is the most common malignancy among men in this age group.

“Some men’s reluctance to see a doctor is about fear or embarrassment about prostate and testicular exams — and the possibility of pain,” said Dr. Jennings. “I tell patients that these scans can be embarrassing but they are necessary and only last for a few seconds – a small sacrifice to save your life.

“[You] You won’t be relying on taking smoke detectors out of your home to prevent a fire, but rather on them to notify you of the fire before it’s too late to get out safely.”

“If a patient is avoiding all other benefits of routine testing based on fear of more personality testing, they can be refused. It is better to do a part of the body than to do nothing of it,” he said.

Your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol will also be checked. These are good determinants of heart health, especially since heart disease is the number one cause of death for men. Having base numbers for these things starting at a young age helps a provider see changes over time and recognize signs of chronic disease either before they start or early on, when they are much easier to treat.

Many patients are afraid of discovering bad news if they go to the doctor. The truth, Dr. Jennings said, is that if there is bad news, it will be there whether you know it or not. “My analogy is that you wouldn’t rely on taking smoke detectors out of your home to prevent a fire, but rather that you would rely on them to notify you of the fire before it’s too late to get out safely.”

If you live with a man, you can help!

Did you know that living with a partner promotes health because you help each other maintain your diet, exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle habits, as well as recover when you are sick or injured? Many male patients admit to seeing a doctor only after their significant other has encouraged them to go.

If encouragement doesn’t work, try inviting your male partner into your body. This may help him feel more comfortable in the doctor’s office. Explain to them that they have a mechanic, accountant, or gym membership to keep many aspects of their lives running smoothly, so they should also have a relationship with a primary care provider.

disadvantaged? You have options

Annual physical needs must be done in person with the health care provider, but there are virtual care options for minor illnesses and injuries, from a video visit to simply filling out a questionnaire and getting a response from the provider.

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