By avoiding regular doctor visits, many males put their health in serious jeopardy. “It is extremely important that men get into the habit of visiting the doctor's office regularly in their younger years,” explains James M. Lally, DO, an osteopathic family physician in Chino, Calif. “To do so then may help them avoid making more trips to the doctor's office later.”
Most women become acquainted with the health care system early in adulthood due to the female reproductive system and the yearly check-ups needed for those who are over 18 or sexually active. Unfortunately, men do not have a similar experience to become acclimated with regular visits to a physician’s office.
“In addition, men used to be taught to tough it out and avoid seeking help unless they were mortally wounded, “ explains Dr. Lally. “Luckily, this belief is slowly fading, but men continue to avoid the doctor unless they have problems.”
Tips for Staying Healthy
Notably, many of the leading causes of death for men can be prevented or delayed with early diagnosis and treatment. For example, one of the greatest health threats for men in continues to be cardiovascular diseases. According to the American Heart Association, more than 1 in 3 adult men has some form of cardiovascular disease.
There are several healthy habits that could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease for men, such as avoiding cigarette smoke; exercising; eating a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol; and most importantly, talking with your physician.
“Your family physician can recommend a daily dose of aspirin or other preventative procedures based upon your specific health history,” insists Dr. Lally.
“We can begin preventative care for most of these health threats in early male adulthood,” explains Dr. Lally. “Unfortunately, most men don’t start seeing a physician annually until their 40s. This is about the time that they begin hearing about friends with heart disease or prostate cancer.”
Health Care Timeline
Dr. Lally advises men over the age of 18 to see a physician annually. Additionally, he recommends the following preventative guidelines for men regarding their health:
Medical research has indicated that the first stages of coronary heart disease can begin in the teen years; therefore, Dr. Lally recommends a periodic baseline cholesterol screening for men during their 20s. In addition, he advises a regular check for testicular cancer.
While men should already be in the pattern of receiving cholesterol screenings, prostate cancer screenings, and a general check-up by age 50, they should also request screenings for colon cancer and other digestive disorders, particularly if there is a family history.
“Prevention is the key to keeping men healthy,” explains Dr. Lally, “ And the best way to do that is to make a doctor’s appointment before they see a problem.”