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Doctor to Dads: Stop Avoiding the Check-Ups

Medical experts suggest men should stay active, limit drinking and stop smoking, and Father's Day might be just the time for a gentle reminder. (Pixabay)
Medical experts suggest men should stay active, limit drinking and stop smoking, and Father's Day might be just the time for a gentle reminder. (Pixabay)
June 16, 2017

LANSING, Mich. – With Father's Day approaching, there's one gift every dad should get: an encouraging nudge to go to the doctor for a check-up. Men are far less likely to see their doctors than women, and in general are less aware of medical symptoms.

According to the CDC, women between 18 and 64 visit the doctor 57 percent more than men do.

Family physician Douglas Felts with Kaiser Permanente says societal norms probably are one big reason why men don't see doctors more often.

"Part of this is really cultural, that men avoid the doctor because we've been taught in our culture that we're the 'fixers,' that we're responsible for fixing things," he explains. "We go out and do things, and fix problems."

However, Felts says doctors are there for their patients, to help them have long and healthy lives. He says it's especially important for men to keep their hearts healthy because heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States.

The mortality rate for men is higher in eight of the ten leading causes of death. Felts says men are more likely to be able to travel and have a more adventurous retirement if they keep up their health.

He describes the ideal situation for men as they grow older.

"Keep yourself in great shape, find a partner in a doctor that you can work with, and attend to all those screening things - cholesterol checks, blood-pressure checks, cancer screenings - so that you can take care of those problems early, and avoid all the long-term complications," he says.

Felts says men should also stay active, limit their drinking and cut out smoking, so they can enjoy many more Father's Days with their families.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI