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This Men’s Health Week (June 14-20) is a great time for men to schedule an appointment with a primary care doctor.
For most men, visiting the doctor—even once a year—isn’t a priority. And some, if they’re honest, may not know the last time they visited one.
“Men are notorious about not getting regular check-ups at a doctor’s office,” said Dr. Austin Williams, a family physician. “I see a lot of guys in their 40s and 50s who haven’t seen a doctor since they were ten years old.”
Why men should visit a doctor
No trophy exists for “longest time without visiting a doctor” or “best at avoiding the doctor.”
And the health risks can quickly compound as months turn to years (and decades).
“The big thing is preventative health: regular blood work and regular checks on blood sugar and blood pressure,” said Dr. Williams. Along with getting routine blood work, men should consider visiting a doctor any time they don’t feel well—difficulty sleeping, chronic headaches, changes in bowel health, or chest pain.
Men should also consider how visiting a doctor can help them enjoy their future years. Men’s health issues such as the “widow maker” are well-known. And men have predispositions for other health issues that they can avoid or improve their chances against by seeing a doctor.
“Along with heart disease goes diabetes and stroke,” said Dr. Williams. “The same things we do to prevent heart disease are all the same things that work to decrease a risk of stroke.”
A doctor’s visit can help men get started with
- Lowering cholesterol
- Managing stress
- Quitting smoking
Caring for yourself and others
Whether it’s for a prostate exam at 50 years old or a check-up in your 20s, a doctor’s visit is an important (and easy) way men can care for themselves.
And as Father’s Day approaches this Sunday, it’s a reminder that caring for your own health is an important way to care for your loved ones, including the next generation.
“You can do your part to break the cycle of young men who do not go to the doctor … and model that behavior for your kids.”