Men less likely to go to the doctor – Ogden Clinic provided source, Standard-Examiner 3/27/2015
OGDEN – When it comes to dying from nearly all the most common causes of death, men lead the way, yet they are still less likely to go to the doctor than women and often ignore symptoms of disease.
“In my experience, I believe much of it is due to pride,”said Dr. Kelly Amann, a family physician at Ogden Clinic. “Men generally have a more difficult time with the vulnerability of possibly having a health-related problem. Procrastination is another common reason why men fail to come to the doctor on a regular basis for a checkup.”
Dr. Glen Biddulph, an internal medicine physician at Tanner Clinic, said younger men do tend to visit the doctor more often than older men and they are more willing to discuss anxiety, depression and erectile dysfunction with their physician. However, the societal view that men should be “tough” is another reason they may not seek routine medical care.
Ogden resident Tim Gurrister agrees.
“We're told, ‘Tough it out. Walk it off,’ since age seven,” he said. “Ability to withstand pain defines manhood, from shaving to head-on collisions. It's the whole competitive, testosterone thing — can't appear vulnerable to other males in the flock or herd, who will then take your food, your woman or your health insurance premiums. Or to sum up, bunch of dumbasses.”
Scott Call of Riverdale uses the same excuse.
“We have the cowboy mentality. If I can walk it off or ignore it, it will be okay,” Call said.
And then there’s the reasoning of Mark Tullis.
“Let's not forget what happened in the movie ‘Coma.’ If it can happen to Tom Selleck, it can happen to any man,” he said.
But other men say they either don’t have the time, or they are frustrated with doctors.
“I think the reason I often do not go to the doctor is they have misdiagnosed me so many times I have a hard time trusting in their abilities to properly diagnose when I do see them,” said Jason Richburg.“They don't express sincere concern in my health and you're made to feel like a number and act bothered if they are in the room more than five minutes. Numerous times I have personally experienced long delays because the doctor is triple or double booking patients as if they are in a race to see how many patients he can see in a day, but fail to spend the necessary time needed with patient to properly test and diagnose correctly.”
Nathan Schwebach said one reason he avoids the doctor is time and money.
“I know I need to take better care of myself, but it seems daunting when you consider the other responsibilities I deal with day-to-day,” he said. “Living a healthy lifestyle requires work and it almost feels overwhelming when you add diet, exercise and health care to a life full of family, employment, community and religious responsibilities.”
Excuses aside, men are dropping over dead from some of the most preventable diseases that include heart disease, colon cancer, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. Regular screenings along with proper diet and exercise can help men lead a longer, healthier life.
“Life expectancy is also seven years shorter for men than their female counterparts,” Biddulph said.
Both Biddulph and Amann said heart disease increases with age, a history of smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. Regular blood tests along with proper diet and exercise can decrease the risk.
Sleep apnea affects 18 million Americans as well, yet many men are never tested for it. Snoring, waking up frequently during the night to urinate, headaches in the morning or waking up with a dry mouth are subtle signs.
Weight loss can help decrease your risk.
A colonoscopy is recommended for men every 10 years after the age of 50 and earlier if there is a family history. If caught early, Biddulph and Amann said the prognosis is good.
“Men should also keep their immunizations up to date with annual influenza vaccination, tetanus and whooping cough vaccine every 10 years,” Amann said.
Dr. Rob Wayment, a urologist at Ogden Clinic, said a large percentage of men will experience problems associated with the prostate as they age. These can be either benign or malignant. The most common is benign prostatic hyperplasia, or big prostate.
“This is most often a quality of life issue related to urination. It usually starts with a slowing urinary stream and progresses to, the most bothersome symptom, waking up one or many times at night to urinate,” Wayment said. “Frequency and urgency of urination are also associated and can even lead to embarrassing and inconvenient urgent urinary leakage.”
Initial treatment for symptoms can be as easy as a well-tolerated medication. This problem, when further advanced, can often necessitate a relatively simple surgery to resolve the problem and return to a more normal quality of life, Wayment said.
“Prostate cancer is the most common solid organ cancer affecting men in the US. There has been quite a bit of controversy, recently, regarding strategies for diagnosis and treatment,” Wayment said. “Screening for prostate cancer has remarkably decreased rates of death from prostate cancer, but it is true that this has also led to overtreatment of many men.”
Wayment said this should not undermine the importance of screening for the cancer, but it has changed guidelines and parameters for screening. Not to mention, it has become more of an art instead of simple blanket guidelines. This has led to more discussion with your medical doctor or urologist concerning what is the best way to proceed in your individual circumstance.
Wayment also said erectile dysfunction is an undesirable and often embarrassing problem affecting nearly 50 percent of men over 40 years of age, to one degree or another. There are a number of treatment options to help men to achieve an erection, ranging from medication to surgery. More than just the dysfunction itself, is the possible reason for it. Young men with high cholesterol and or a family history of heart disease or stroke, who develop ED, may have some degree of heart disease and be at risk for experiencing a heart attack. In these circumstances, it may be more than just an inconvenience.