It’s a well-known fact that women are much more apt to go to a doctor than a man.
A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows men are half as likely as women to go to the doctor over a two-year period. They were also more than three times as likely to admit going more than five years without a visit. And men were more than twice as likely to say they’ve never had contact with a doctor or health professional as an adult, ever.
That’s pretty much Dusty Scheurman’s story. He went 23 years without visiting a doctor.
“When you’re in your early 20’s, you think you’re going to live forever,” says Scheurman.
He changed, when he learned his father was having heart issues. His wife pushed him, and he made an appointment.
“My cholesterol was very high, blood pressure was very high, my numbers were all over the place.”
Dr. Harland Holman says fear keeps men, like Scheurman, away.
“There’s a lot of fear. I’m not sure why. I think they’re not used to coming in. They like to tough it out.”
The American Heart Association has a list of excuses men use to avoid visiting a doctor. They include: they don’t have a doctor, they don’t have insurance, they assume nothing is wrong, they have no time, they don’t want to spend money, they believe doctors don’t do anything, anyway and many men have something called probe-a-phobia. They dislike and avoid rectal and prostate exams.
Dr. Holman has seen the probe-a-phobia in some of his patients. Men under the age of 40, he says, don’t usually need yearly prostate exams. As for men over 50, it’s important they be screened for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and colon cancer.
“They often take their car to get an oil change. If they can visualize that and take their body in to make sure their oil is ok or their blood is ok, that may help,” says Dr. Holman.
Dr. Holman suggests men with erectile dysfunction or snoring problems need to see a doctor right away. Both can be signs of bigger problems, like heart disease.
Men need to keep their shots updated as well.
For more information on men’s health, click here.