Given a choice, would you rather see a doctor or scrub a toilet? According to a recent national survey, if you’re a man, you’ve probably chosen the latter. The survey reports that 72 percent of men would instead do household chores than go to a doctor’s appointment. And if you’re in this demographic, there’s no better time to take control of your health.
In a recent news appearance, Dr. Erica Bruen at SCL Health Medical Group - Downtown Internal Medicine in Billings, MT, shared this and other facts on men’s health avoidances. In her experience, it’s crucial that men seek medical attention more often to dodge future health scares.
Why do men delay care?
It’s no secret that women are more likely to have a primary care physician than men, but why? Well, the answer varies depending on the circumstances.
One of those answers could be the “macho” effect. Over two in every five men believed that men don’t complain about health issues. Other studies have shown that these “traditionally” masculine men don’t seek consistent health care. The pressure of gender stereotypes can prevent men from getting the help they need.
Another solution is a natural part of human existence: embarrassment. The study found that shame is one reason men have not been honest with or avoided their doctors. While some men don’t want to hear what diet/lifestyle changes they need to make, others don’t want to find out if something is wrong. The truth can be scary, but there’s no reason to feel shame about taking care of yourself.
Delaying care can be a deadly mistake, whether it's for these reasons or men just wanting more convenient check-up appointments. A way to avoid care-delaying pitfalls is to build a relationship with a primary care physician.
“The more you get to know and trust a primary care doctor, the more comfortable you feel opening up and not withholding information,” said Dr. Bruen. “And when you get sick, you have someone to go to!”
Why should men be proactive about care?
There are many risks to delaying care, especially for men.
According to the CDC, a fourth of adult male deaths are due to heart disease. Be careful of assuming that statistic won’t include you – half of those men showed no symptoms before dying! Routine doctor visits can help regulate cardiovascular risk factors.
There’s also prostate health to worry about. According to the American Cancer Society, about one in every eight men will have a prostate cancer diagnosis at some point. It’s the second highest cause of male cancer death, and catching it in an early screening can save your life.
Listing all male health dangers would be impossible (and frankly, above my copywriting paygrade). So if you’re one of the 82 percent of men trying to live longer for loved ones, consider what you’ll leave behind.
And next time you decide between cleaning toilets and visiting a physician, remember the benefits of taking care of yourself. And hopefully, with regular doctor visits, you’ll be healthily scrubbing toilets for much longer.