If it’s been a while since your last doctor’s exam, you’re not alone. Many men aren’t going to the doctor regularly for a wide range of reasons. But regular visits can be important to keep you healthy and identify health issues early on.
Check out these common reasons for not visiting a doctor and what you should know about them:
- You don’t feel like anything is wrong with you. It’s always great to be feeling healthy, but unfortunately, many dangerous health conditions don’t have symptoms that would be readily noticeable by you. Conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol are often symptomless but can lead to heart attack or stroke. An examination by your doctor can find these health problems early and keep you on track for good health.
- You don’t have a doctor. For a lot of men, one of the reasons they don’t go to the doctor is because they simply don’t have one. But finding a doctor you trust starts with setting up an appointment. You can check with your insurance company to find participating doctors in your area or call the doctor’s office directly to ask questions. You can also ask friends or family for recommendations to get you started.
- You don’t have insurance. Health insurance has become easier to obtain, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. If your employer doesn’t offer health care coverage, you can find coverage through the health insurance marketplace in your state. Low-income individuals may qualify for financial assistance to help with cost concerns.
- You’re worried about being embarrassed. Maybe you’ve put on a few pounds or you haven’t been able to kick a smoking addiction. Keep in mind, your doctor is not there to judge you. He or she is there to offer advice and help you understand your risks. Plus, your doctor may be able to offer alternative ways to improve your health that you haven’t considered.
- You just want to tough it out. Appearing invincible is an image many men like to portray. But your health is not something that can simply be ignored.
“Many men view sickness and pain as weakness,” said Bernard Davidson, PhD, a psychologist at Augusta University Behavioral Health and Psychiatry. “In an effort to not feel weak or show others vulnerability, they minimize the problem of being ill or in pain by avoiding it.”
Many health conditions you might want to disregard do not go away — instead, they get worse.
“It all comes down to denial and control,” Davidson said. “By admitting that one has a problem on his hands, he gives up control. The stereotype of a man driving around lost and refusing to ask for directions is a classic example of this.”
“What’s ironic is that visiting the doctor is actually a way to take control — of your health in this instance,” said Christos Hatzigeorgiou, MD, chief of Augusta University Internal Medicine. “Keeping up with regular doctor appointments typically once a year for preventive health screenings, which are covered by health insurance, not only gives physicians the opportunity to detect and begin early treatment, but doing so can also prevent unwanted irreversible complications.”
Don’t let these or any reasons keep you from regularly seeing your doctor. To find a doctor or schedule an appointment at Augusta University Health, visit augustahealth.org, or call 706-721-2273.