Many men skip their annual check-ups or delay seeing a doctor when something seems wrong with their health, opting to tough out their problems. But here’s the thing: This behavior can have serious consequences. Early detection and treatment are often crucial for successfully dealing with health issues.
It’s essential for men to remember that good health should never be taken for granted and seeking help is not a sign of weakness.
“It’s important to know that catching a disease in its early stages can be the difference between life and death,” said Fred Alamshaw, DO, chief of family medicine for Kaiser Permanente in Orange County, California.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13.2% of men age 18 and older in the United States are in fair or poor health. “One conclusion to this troubling statistic is that many men are inclined to not see a doctor until in the later stages of physical or mental ailments,” Dr. Alamshaw said.
Why do men skip doctor’s visits more often?
Dr. Alamshaw notes that men struggling with physical or mental health issues are more likely than women to avoid seeking treatment or not have recent contact with health care professionals.
One reason for this behavior, according to Dr. Alamshaw, is that many men feel pressure to conform to traditional gender norms of masculinity. They may also want to show their independence and control. Cultural norms and societal pressure can make them hesitant to appear weak or vulnerable.
“This is regardless of income or ethnicity,” Dr. Alamshaw said. “This type of reluctance often leads to men not seeking help until their mental or physical health has progressed to a point where it might be too late.”
Dr. Alamshaw encourages men to put those feelings aside and, at the very least, undergo key screening tests to help find health complications and diseases early, when they’re easier to treat.