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Encourage Dads to get a "Tune-Up" This Father's Day

Doctors suggest even men without any serious health conditions come in for routine health checkups. (RLTheis/Twenty20)
Doctors suggest even men without any serious health conditions come in for routine health checkups. (RLTheis/Twenty20)
June 15, 2018

SEATTLE – There's a good chance Washington dads haven't been in for a routine doctor's checkup in a while. For Father's Day, medical professionals suggest dads get themselves a gift and go in for an exam, even if they don't have any pressing health issues.

Doctor Scott Itano, a family medicine physician with Kaiser Permanente Washington, says men's aversion to the doctor's office starts at an early age and persists throughout life. But he says they should consider an appointment like they do a tune-up for their car.

"You've got to treat yourself better than you do your car – you know, you take your car in for an oil change twice a year – and most men never see a doctor for three, four, five years,” says Itano. “So, at least getting your foot in the door is the most important thing."

Itano says preventive care is a great way to stay out of the doctor's office in the long run. Preventive care usually entails counseling on weight, exercise and diet. It's also a time when men can discuss more sensitive topics, such as substance use and abuse, mental health, and sexual health.

Itano says there are lot of components that keep men away, including fear of being vulnerable or having personal problems exposed. He says ideas about what is masculine could also play a role in this. One way to combat these anxieties is to find right doctor.

"Sometimes men just have hard time opening up and trusting, and developing a relationship with their doctor and so, that's where I think finding a doctor who connects with you and who you trust is really important to find,” says Itano.

He adds having a primary care physician also helps when a serious condition does come up, because that doctor already has the inside scoop on a person's health.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA