Men can be serious about many subjects, but their health usually isn’t one of them. According to one recent study by the Cleveland Clinic, close to 60 percent of men don’t regularly see a doctor, going only when they are seriously ill. The survey also found that only three in five men get annual physicals and nearly half of the 500 men surveyed said their health is simply something they don’t talk about. Instead, men are much more likely to talk about current events (36 percent), sports (32 percent) or their job (32 percent) rather than their health (only 7 percent).
What does this mean for men and those that love them? Women will outlive them, usually by five years, they will experience more years of bad health, and because male mental health is also not addressed, men have higher suicide rates. In terms of specific illnesses, men are nearly 10 times more likely to get inguinal hernias, five times more likely to have aortic aneurysms, and four times more likely to be hit by gout. Men are three times more likely to develop kidney stones, to become alcoholics, have bladder cancer and about twice as likely to suffer from emphysema or a duodenal ulcer. Source
Why Men Say They Don’t Visit the Doctor
An online survey commissioned by Orlando Health found that men overwhelmingly cite “a lack of time” for not taking better care of their health.
The second-most common excuse is that they are “afraid of finding out something might be seriously wrong.”
Another reason reported in surveys is that men dread exams (such as prostate checks, testicular exams, colon cancer screenings and the like) because they are “uncomfortable.”
What will encourage men to seek a doctor’s care?
Male survey respondents give different responses about whether the people in their life can “gently persuade” them to take better care of their health. In the Cleveland Clinic survey, 19 percent of male respondents admitted they go to the doctor so their significant other or loved one will stop nagging them. While this works some of the time, sometimes being asked to do something can feel like we’re losing control and we will resist.
5 Ways to Support A Male Loved to Schedule a Doctor’s Appointment (with input from Healthful Life MD’s male patients)
1) Schedule at a convenient time and place and offer to go with him. After the appointment, do something fun, like dinner or visit the driving range.
2) Schedule your appointment right before or after his at the same doctor so it’s just something you both are doing, not something only he needs to do.
3) Be loving, encouraging and avoid judgment. Remind him that by not taking care of his health, he could be leaving you and other loved ones unprepared and worried.
4) Talk about a lucky break. This tactic works best if you know of a friend or relative who caught a serious medical condition early. This works best when that friend is male and perhaps that friend was reluctant too. If your man works better with a stick than a carrot, tell him of an instance of a health condition caught too late and the effect on that person and their family.
5) Appeal to reason and compare the potential discomfort of an exam to the devastating effect of a cancer diagnosis that will require chemotherapy and radiation. Use an analogy like, “You take your pet and your car in for regular checkups/maintenance so why don’t do you do the same for yourself?” Regular checkups are crucial since many health conditions are latent at first and an annual checkup is one of the only opportunities to have a professional evaluate you.
Sprinkle in a phrase like, “Would you rather know what you are dealing with ahead of time or play catch up after the fact?” No matter the reasons the man or men in your life are avoiding the doctor, perhaps one of these five suggestions will help persuade him to make an appointment. Also, with COVID-19, many doctor appointments are virtual, saving all of us time and making it more convenient than ever. Healthful Life MD works with men’s health experts and if you are looking for a referral, please contact us at 720 336-5681. If you are a man, or know a man who would benefit from taking charge of his nutrition and fitness with an eye on his particular medical needs, encourage him to schedule a call with Dr. Abby Bleistein.