Apparently, men would rather do just about anything than see a doctor. A 2019 Cleveland Clinic survey found that 72% of men would rather do household chores or yardwork than go to a doctor and 77% would rather go shopping with their wife or partner. Men are diligent in maintaining their homes and yards, and getting their cars regularly serviced, but too often ignore the “check engine” light on their own health.
Popular reasons for avoiding care
The top excuses for avoiding a yearly physical are cost, a reluctance to take time off work, and concern that a major ailment might be discovered. Many men just want to avoid a lecture on their poor diet or exercise habits. These concerns reflect a culture that values strength, stoicism, and self-reliance. Going to a doctor, even for a physical, is mistakenly seen as a sign of weakness.
But avoiding regular health screenings can have negative consequences in the long run. The top illnesses that cause death in men—heart disease, cancer, and respiratory diseases—are most effectively treated when detected early. A primary care clinician can track test results over time and catch these “silent killers” when treatments are most effective. The fact that women outlive men may be due to their willingness to seek care more consistently and discuss health concerns openly.
Encouraging men to seek care
Convincing men to see a primary care clinician involves both education and demystifying the health care process. One approach is to remind men about the benefits of regular health screenings and the risk of missing an illness when it’s still treatable. Appeal to their sense of responsibility by noting their health matters to their spouse, children, and wider social circle. Men can also be swayed by noting that friends and peers they respect are actively engaged in their healthcare responsibilities. Budget conscious patients can be reminded that wellness visits are typically free with a co-pay under most healthcare plans, and are a fraction of the cost of a serious illness.
Kinwell strives to make primary care convenient and stress free. Patients can typically schedule an appointment within days, not weeks or months. Virtual care over a computer or smart phone involves less time off work.
A yearly wellness exam can check blood pressure and cholesterol levels, screen for cancers, and keep vaccines and flu shots current. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure and these simple health checks form a baseline of data that can catch serious illnesses before they need that pound of cure. Send the reluctant patient in your life a link to this article as a reminder to schedule an appointment with a Kinwell clinician by calling 833-411-5469 or by visiting Kinwellhealth.com.