Men's health

Education

Men’s Health Awareness: Getting Men to See Their Doctors for Checkups, Screenings

June is National Men’s Health Month, a time of year when men are reminded that they are much less likely than women to take control of their health, see their doctor on a regular basis, and get cancer screenings and other tests that are important at any time, but especially as you get older.

It’s been well documented by the American Heart Association and other medical groups that men tend to come up with excuses for avoiding the doctor, even if they have health concerns that could be serious.

Aldo Ribeiros, M.D., an internal medicine specialist with Baptist Health Primary Care, answers some questions regarding the reluctance of men to see a doctor.  

Why do you think men tend to hesitate in getting regular checkups and cancer screenings?

Aldo Ribeiros Jr., M.D., an internal medicine physician with Baptist Health Primary Care.

 

Dr. Ribeiros: "Like so many people, some men avoid seeing a doctor because they fear receiving bad news. They may not be physically fit, possibly overweight, and are putting off doing something about it. Some men just don't find the time. But after a certain age, they should start considering the serious consequences of putting off cardiovascular and cancer screenings."

 

What methods do you use to get men to open up … for you to assess their medical condition, but they might not be comfortable to talk about?

 

Dr. Ribeiros: "As with all patients, I try to get a full picture of their overall health and family medical history. I look for what is most troubling to them in their everyday lives when it comes to their physical and mental well-being."

 

Is there a pivotal age for men to start getting annual checkups -- is it 40 or 50?

 

Dr. Ribeiros: "At the age of 50, men should definitely be having annual checkups -- possibly at a younger age if there are underlying health issues that have presented, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol issues, being overweight or obese and other conditions.  Much depends on family medical history as well."

 

Do you find that men who seldom get checkups are more likely to have underlying health issues, possibly high blood pressure, asymptomatic heart disease, or other chronic condition.

 

Dr. Ribeiros: "Absolutely. High blood pressure does not produce symptoms and is a dangerous condition to be left untreated. If men go years with seeing a doctor, there is a good chance that there's something that needs to be addressed. Putting off checkups is the worse option."

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