The survey found a third of men (33%) don’t think they need annual health screenings and almost two-thirds (65%) believe they are naturally healthier than others in general. This is statistically impossible, argues Dr. Thomas Kelley, a family medicine specialist at Orlando Health Physician Associates.
“Even if you think you’re healthy and you’re not experiencing any symptoms, there can be developing issues that often go unnoticed and can also be life-threatening if left unchecked. Some of those include rising blood pressure that can be a ticking time bomb for a heart attack or stroke, as well as colon cancer, which is one of the most deadly yet preventable cancers that exist.”
As a primary care physician, Dr. Kelley has heard many excuses from his male patients as to why they skip appointments. He believes the underlying reason is often fear.
“If you’re a man and you haven’t been to the doctor in a while, you don’t really know what to expect.” said Dr. Kelley. “One of the big things that makes it less scary is having that great relationship with a primary care physician, and most men find the process to be easier than they thought. It takes about half an hour and by the end of the appointment you have the big picture about where you stand, what you’re at risk for and what you need to do for your health in the future.”
Kelley says building trust with your doctor can reduce nerves and help make conversations comfortable, which often creates confidence in returning.
But first, doctors need to get patients in the door. The survey found that 38 percent of men often get medical advice from social media, which can be extremely problematic without reputable medical sources.
Nearly two in five men admit that they focus on their pet’s health more than their own. This wasn’t surprising to Kelley, who argues that taking care of yourself first and foremost is how you can provide care to the others in your life.
It’s never too late to get caught up on routine appointments and screenings. However, starting as soon as possible is key to taking control of your health.
Combining annual exams with regular exercise, a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and finding ways to reduce stress can make a big difference in your overall health.
“It’s much easier to go to the doctor once a year for a wellness checkup and make certain that you’re not developing diabetes, high blood pressure or a heart problem, than to find yourself in an intensive care unit needing heart bypass surgery because you didn’t look into those things,” said Dr. Kelley.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Orlando Health from May 9 – 11, 2022 among 893 U.S. adult men ages 18 and older.