Adults can find plenty of reasons for not going to see their doctor, but for men this problem is much bigger. If you’re a man who waits until something is seriously wrong before going to the doctor, you’re not alone. Harris Interactive conducted a survey for the American Academy of Family Physicians with 1,100 men where 58% of them said that even under the best of circumstances something still keeps them from routinely seeing their doctor.
Why are men so reluctant to visit a doctor? In the survey the men were given a list of possible reasons to select from. Here is how they responded:
- I only to the doctor if I am extremely sick: 36%
- I am healthy, I have no reason to go to the doctor: 23%
- I prefer to treat myself naturally: 12%
- I don’t have time to go the doctor: 12%
- I don’t have health insurance: 11%
- I don’t like doctors: 8%
- I am afraid of finding out that something is wrong with me: 7%
- I don’t know of a good doctor in my area: 4%, and
- Nothing really prevents me from going to the doctor: 39%.
Of those surveyed, nearly 80% said that they were in excellent, very good or good health which correlates to the first excuse on the list above. Most of the men in the survey also reported having health insurance and a family physician they could go see.
But, feeling fine does not mean that a visit to the doctor is not in order. Many health conditions or problems may not have any symptoms or cause the man to feel bad, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. And, many men may be unaware of the many screening tests that are available and lifestyle changes that can dramatically improve their quality of life or overall long-term health.
So, what are the real reasons behind why men don’t go to the doctor?
They are tough. Men are more likely to “tough out” illness because admitting to being sick is equated with weakness. Men tend to prioritize work over treatment and rarely discuss their health issues with someone else.
It’s a “chick thing.” Many men perceive going to the doctor as a “chick thing” or are concerned they will not be viewed as masculine. But, keep this in mind, most women live longer than men so postponing a visit may not be in their long-term interest.
There isn’t enough time. For some men who work long hours in the office or outside of the home, taking time out of their schedules or work to visit a doctor is viewed as competition for their time or as a detriment to their doing their jobs well or ultimately, impacting their ability to provide for their family.
Tired of the nagging. It is true that many women will nag their husbands over petty issues or in to going to the doctor. But for some, the nagging and persistence of their spouse just may have saved their life!
No obvious signs of being sick. So what? It is better to prevent the onset of a disease than to find the right treatment to cure it. Visiting a doctor for a routine check-up is a simple thing to do that will help the man to live a healthy life in the future.
They are in denial. In another survey of men, 7% admitted that they did not want to go see a doctor because they were afraid that something might actually be wrong with them. Denial like this can lead to any number of significant problems and could result in an incurable illness in the future.
It is important that men are reminded that prevention is always a better option than a cure. Routine check-ups will detect early signs of diseases of the colon, prostate and more.
The best advice is for the man to treat himself like he treats his car or prize possession that needs routine care. The man’s body is no different and this is where their thinking goes wrong. If men were to pay more attention to their bodies and their health like they do their cars, they will live long, healthy, happy and productive lives. Keeping those appointments for routine check-ups is a requirement and men must understand this fact.