Men: 3 Reasons to Make a Doctor’s Appointment Today
August 12, 2021
If you’re like most men, you probably avoid going to the doctor unless you’re really sick. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) calls men the biggest obstacle to improving their own health.
Surveys going back for years all disclose the same thing—U.S. men usually skip preventive medical care and go to their doctors, grudgingly, only when they’re ill. And even when men decide they need a doctor, they wait as long as possible on the chance they’ll get better on their own.
Why Preventive Health Care Matters
Even though you may rate your health as good, your failure to get preventive check-ups and screenings could be costly. Many conditions, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, don’t have obvious symptoms. High blood pressure, in fact, is called a "silent killer" whose subtle damage can lead to heart disease or stroke.
You may also miss early signs of cancer—and the window of opportunity to have it treated early when it’s most curable. A need to urinate frequently, blood in your urine or stool, skin changes, having trouble swallowing, or losing weight without trying are some signs you shouldn’t ignore.
If you think failing to get check-ups and screenings doesn’t matter, consider that men on average live 5.3 years less than women and are more likely to die of cancer, heart attack, chronic liver disease, and other conditions.
Government reports also indicate that men engage in more risky behavior than women—drinking more, smoking more and being less likely to quit, using illicit drugs, and being more overweight.
Behind Every Man…
One bright spot in this picture: Men are more likely to see a doctor if urged by their wife, girlfriend, mother—some influential woman in their lives. And being married is the best predictor of how much men use the health-care system, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Married men, regardless of age, who have health insurance, were more likely to have had a health-care visit in the last 12 months and more likely to have received recommended preventive-care services.
If you can’t remember the last time you saw your doctor for a check-up, make an appointment today.
Benjamin R. Snell, MD
Benjamin R. Snell, MD, is a family physician with Lancaster General Health Physicians Family Medicine Twin Rose. A graduate of Concordia College and Georgetown University School of Medicine, Dr. Snell served his residency at Lancaster General Hospital. Dr. Snell enjoys "caring for the whole person in each stage of life."