Getting Men to the Doctor

Getting Men to the Doctor

Do men get a bad rap when it comes to going to the doctor? Unfortunately, some men are stubborn about seeing the doctor. It may be because of cost, fear, or pride. Whatever the reason, it’s important for men to see their doctors.

Path to improved wellness

While many men see a doctor when they are sick, preventive care is just as important. Preventive care includes medical screenings, assessing health risks, learning healthy living habits, and updating vaccinations. As an added bonus, preventive care helps you establish a relationship with your doctor. Also, it provides your doctor with a health history, which is important in your care.

Important screenings for men are important at any age. They include:

  • blood pressure
  • cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • prostate
  • colonoscopy (beginning at age 50 unless you have a family history)
  • skin cancer
  • hearing and vision
  • sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • mental health conditions, such as depression.

Preventive medicines and supplements

Men of all ages should talk to their doctors about the benefits of taking over-the-counter medicines that can prevent certain health conditions. For example, a low-dose, daily aspirin may help reduce heart attacks. Talk to your doctor about whether your age and medical history makes this right for you. Vitamin D is another over-the-counter supplement that can provide health benefits. This may be important if you are not getting enough vitamin D through food and sun.

Important vaccinations

Certain vaccines are necessary for good health, including:

  • Annual flu shot.
  • Tetanus booster shot (every 10 years).
  • Shingles vaccination (age 60 and older). Shingles is a painful rash caused by the chickenpox virus.
  • Pneumonia vaccination (age 65 and older).

Talk to your doctor about your personal health needs, risks, and stage of life to see which vaccines are important for you.

Things to consider

Fear may be one of the biggest reasons men avoid going to the doctor. However, it’s important for men to listen to their bodies. Ignoring warning signs can lead to bigger problems.

A healthy lifestyle is important, as well. Maintaining a healthy weight, stopping smoking, and limiting alcohol is the best method of preventing illness and certain diseases.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • How often should I see a doctor for routine checkups?
  • At my age, what supplements or vaccinations do I need?
  • What preventive screenings do you recommend?

Resources

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Men: Staying Healthy at Any Age

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Men: Take Charge of Your Health