Reader Question: My husband refuses to get medical checkups. What should I do?
Answer: In the U.S., men die (on average) five years earlier than women, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The top three causes of death for men? Heart disease, cancer and unintentional injury. So of course men would benefit from early detection of these and other maladies that could result in death. But… a Cleveland Clinic study last year reconfirmed male unwillingness to make routine doctor appointments. It seems men feel they are strong and healthy — so why go to the doctor?
Here’s why: Preventative measures by healthy men in their 30’s and 40’s can help keep them healthy as they age. This is when to start thinking about your cholesterol, blood pressure and all the simple screenings. Screenings were developed to do exactly that — SCREEN. Men should also know their own family health history. We no longer live in days of our grandfathers. Back then, men worked completely unaware of any hidden diagnosis or health problems. Until they just abruptly died.
Some men find it difficult to talk about their health. They may complain about chest pain, but then wave it off as just indigestion. And if they DO see the doctor, they are quick to avoid discussion by saying “everything is fine!” Discussion might mean addressing a health problem requiring a (gasp) change to their eating habits, exercise schedule, or (double gasp) alcohol consumption. So, to avoid feeling annoyed or frustrated, they just don’t go to the doctor. Avoidance also means they won’t feel “judged” by their doctors in case of a diagnosis. Sigh.
Listen up, guys: High blood pressure, diabetes, urinary issues, or a whole host of other medical conditions are not going to magically go away. Heart attacks, strokes and vascular disease have long term effects and a difficult recovery, especially when preceded by neglect.
Bottom line? Man up! And get to the doctor before you have symptoms.
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. To submit a question, send an email to askOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging at OneSeniorPlace.com.
Barbara Fradkin is a Social Worker, Certified Care Manager and the Director for One Senior Place, Viera.