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Men’s reluctance to visit a Doctor puts them at unnecessary risk

Both males and females should be encouraged to undergo regular health screenings to enable physicians to detect current and potential health risks. By encouraging lifestyle changes, the occurrence of many of the common diseases in Australia can be reduced. Despite this simple fact, health industry experts Life First, have found only 32% of their clients are reported as having a regular GP with whom they discuss their health and undergo regular screening,  putting them at an unnecessary health risk.[1]

Many of these common diseases don’t present with clear symptoms, so can commonly go undetected by the patient.

High blood pressure, for example, which can contribute to heart attack and stroke, is often symptomless, as is high cholesterol and elevated blood glucose. Although symptomless, these illnesses can be detected early through regular screenings.

 

Doctor with patient

 

The simple act of regularly meeting with a trusted doctor to discuss health issues and to undertake comprehensive screenings, can lead to vast improvements in health, and yet it is this simple step that presents a hurdle to many people, especially men. Research from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that it is men who are significantly less likely than women to have regular health assessments, leading to the potential of a greater incidence of associated health risks[2]. Compared to women, men are “three times more likely to die of coronary heart disease, twice as likely to die of skin cancer, three times more likely to commit suicide – and much less likely to visit the doctor”[3]. This begs the questions as to whether these figures may be improved if men were to have regular screenings.

So why the barrier for men to visit health physicians? Before male patients can be convinced to develop and maintain regular screenings, their initial reluctance must be understood.

 

32% of participants do not have a regular GP

 

Is it that men are too busy, too masculine and tough or that by the very virtue of their gender have not been required to make regular visits to their health practitioner for gender related check ups? Well the latter may be true up until 40 years of age. Whilst women are required to visit Doctors to have regular pap smears, attend to menstrual issues and pregnancy from an early age, for men, gender related health issues are not required until a later age. This regular contact and personal relationship with their GP may allow female patients to have regular assessments of their general health, which may contribute to an overall improved health.

Although male patients have typically had less contact with doctors, and less of an urge to visit, it is important that they are encouraged to have regular screening as they become older. Taking preventative measures with your health is incredibly important to optimise health, maintain quality of life, maximise longevity and ensure you’re able to live life to its fullest.

Life First programs offer you the best opportunity to maintain quality of life, maximise longevity and ensure you live life to its fullest. When it comes to health and wellbeing, peace of mind is ideal and prevention is better than cure. Our comprehensive medical, lifestyle and wellbeing programs are performed at our St Vincent’s Clinic in Sydney.



[1] Life First data, 2016.

[2] Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing, ‘The Health of Australia’s Males’ http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737419204

[3]Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Why our men won’t go to the doctor’ http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/02/19/1045330661997.html



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