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Preventive Care is Important for Men

Clean the bathroom or go to the doctor. Which would you choose?

Men would rather do household chores than visit a doctor, according to a 2019 survey conducted by the Cleveland Clinic. Only half of the men in the national survey felt that getting their annual check-up is a regular part of taking care of themselves. But why do men avoid the doctor and preventive care?

Why men avoid the doctor

We all know that serious health risks may be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle, seeing a doctor regularly and getting preventive care. But many men still avoid getting preventive care. Here’s what they say:

  • I can’t take time off from work to go to the doctor. But, 61 percent of men would go for preventive care if they could do it during non-traditional hours.
  • I don’t like talking to a doctor about certain things. Many men like to see themselves as in control, which often prevents them from discussing their health concerns.
  • I can’t afford it. While preventive care is covered under the Affordable Care Act, finances still play a role. Missing work and out-of-pocket costs for tests or screenings may affect someone’s finances.
  • I’m happy the way I am. Many men do not want to change their lifestyles due to health issues or hear that anything is wrong. In the Cleveland Clinic survey, men admitted that fear of finding out they were sick and not wanting to change diet or exercise habits is why they avoid the doctor.

Preventive care is important

Most men want to be around to take care of their family, yet only half seek recommended preventive care. According to Don Liss, MD, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, most men should see their doctor annually for a routine check-up, in addition to any visits for illnesses or to monitor specific conditions. Depending on age and other risk factors, additional preventive services may be recommended:

  • Adult immunizations such as tetanus booster or zoster vaccine
  • Blood pressure checks
  • Cholesterol screenings
  • Colorectal cancer screenings, starting at age 50 or earlier if there is a family history of colon or rectal cancer
  • Counseling to maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • Measurement of Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Screening for Depression and Substance Use Disorder

Other ways to stay healthy

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Eat a healthy diet, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Practice safe sex.
  • Use sunscreen when you’re outside.
  • Watch your weight.

Take the first step

First of all, don’t be embarrassed. It’s your health and your doctor has heard it all. If you want to be around to see your grandchildren and care for your family or friends, take the time to have your annual check-up. Call a Horizon Health Guide at 1-800-414-SHBP (7427) or use our Doctor & Hospital Finder to find a doctor you can trust and talk to about your specific health needs.