Don't Hate the Doctor, Man

Doctors need to screen for heart problems, diabetes, other diseases

(RxWiki News) Part of taking care of yourself usually involves going to the doctor on a regular basis, yet many men seem to think that doctor visits are not important, according to a recent survey.

Women are three times more likely to make regular visits to the doctor than men. Many men avoid the doctor even though on average they are more likely to die at a younger age than women and are more likely to die of health problems like heart disease, cancer, stroke, and AIDS.

"Men don't visit doctors as often as women."

According to Timothy Vavra, D.O., from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, one reason men may be staying away from the doctor is that they do not want to make certain lifestyle changes. He says they may think it is a waste of time to hear a doctor tell them to change their eating habits or to start exercising if they know they are not going to do it anyway.

However, Vavra notes, this way of thinking does not match up with reality. In fact, the more time a person spends without seeing a doctor, the more likely they will have to see a doctor on a regular basis because of health problems that developed.

Even though doctors cannot stop every disease from happening, they can still keep an eye out for warning signs and help patients deal with smaller issues so that they do not become larger.

Vavra recommends that men go to a doctor when they are young and healthy so that the doctor can know where the patient's health started. This helps the doctor and patient know when something bad is starting to happen.

If a problem is noticed early, both patient and doctor can take small steps to fix it. However, if a patient waits too long, the problem can grow so big that he has to make huge lifestyle changes and may need medications.

The main reason men should see a doctor on a regular basis is to be screened for diseases and health problems that are especially dangerous to men.

All men over 18 years of age should have their blood pressure checked at least once a year. They should also be screened for high cholesterol and diabetes.

Once they reach 50 years of age, they should be checked for both colorectal cancer and prostate cancer.

Men should make regular visits to the doctor not only for their own health, says Vavra, but also to set a good example for their children. If a father leads a healthy life, it is more likely that his kids will too. 

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Review Date: 
June 9, 2011