If there’s one thing men won’t do to avoid going to therapy, it’s probably going to the doctor. In fact, up to 72 percent of men would rather clean their toilets than go see a health professional. While some guys have reasoned that they don’t have the time, money or insurance to get a medical issue checked out, others say they just prefer to “tough it out.”
Meanwhile, new research suggests men have now concocted yet another excuse for dodging the doctor: They believe that they’re the paradigm of perfect health, especially when compared to their fellow man (and woman).
According to a national survey of 893 men, 33 percent didn’t think they needed annual health screenings, and 38 percent acknowledged that they tend to prioritize their pet’s health over their own. But the most shocking finding was that up to 65 percent of men miss doctor appointments because they think they’re “naturally healthier” than everyone else on the planet.
“It’s statistically impossible for the majority of men to be healthier than the majority of men,” Thomas Kelley, a family medicine specialist at Orlando Health Physician Associates, who commissioned the survey, explained in a press release. “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.” For example, rising blood pressure that goes unattended “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,” Kelley warned.
Throughout his career, Kelley has heard almost every excuse from men about why they can’t seem to show up for preventative-care appointments, but he doesn’t buy that it’s because they’re “naturally healthy.” Rather, underneath all that hubris is the fear that something is seriously wrong with them.
“If you’re a man and you haven’t been to the doctor in a while, you don’t really know what to expect,” Kelley pointed out. Still, he’s found that having a solid relationship with your primary-care physician can offset this avoidance and help ease any anxiety. And the good news is, once guys start going to the doctor, most “find the process to be easier than they thought.” Plus, Kelley added, the trade-off is worth it: “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.”
So no matter how “naturally healthy” you may be, just go see the doctor, and make sure they think you’re naturally healthy, too.