If you’ve ever had to persuade your husband to visit the doctor, you’re not alone. Men love to exhibit denial, machismo, and stoicism about their health. Thankfully, the women in their lives have influence there. But how and when should you push the man in your life to seek routine care? Read on to find out.
Back in 1920, men lived longer than women by an average of one year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But today, the average woman lives six years longer than the average man. Furthermore, men are 60 percent more likely to develop heart disease than women, and men are 44 percent more likely to get cancer. According to the Men’s Health Network, this is because men are less likely to adopt preventative health measures and are more likely to engage in risky behaviors. Men are also more likely to go long periods of time without seeing a doctor.
Aches, pains and discomfort are just something men try to power through. Many don’t want to see a doctor just to hear what’s wrong with them. As with women, it is just as important for men to take time for preventative healthcare. It can improve quality of life and potential diseases can be discovered while there is still time for effective treatment.
This is Where You Come In
If your husband avoids doctor visits, should you try persuading him to go? Absolutely. Men often see their doctors because of spousal encouragement. In fact, according to the recent Men’s Health Study conducted by Harris Interactive, 78 percent of U.S. males say their spouses or significant others have influence over their decision to go to the doctor. So don’t stop at reminding him to take out the trash—spend some time persuading him to see a physician.
For example, start the conversation by asking:
- Has he had his blood pressure checked lately?
- Has he talked to his doctor about being screened for conditions like prostate or colon cancer?
- Has he reviewed his family’s medical history with a doctor?
What are some other techniques you can use to get your husband to the doctor? Try zeroing in on what’s most important to him or appealing to his emotions. Encourage the sports lover to get a clean bill of health before beginning a new activity. Appealing to his sense of manliness and familial responsibility can be a great motivator. Remind the family man that he needs to be in good health to watch his kids grow old and that you need him for the long haul. One day at the doctor is simply the price of being so needed.
Many of the major health risks that men often face, like heart disease and colon cancer, can be prevented and even treated with an early diagnosis. The Men’s Health Network suggest men have the following screenings:
- Yearly physical and blood pressure (all men)
- Annual Skin cancer exam (all men)
- Blood panel to check cholesterol, diabetes, kidney, and thyroid (men 20 and older)
- Blood panel with a prostate cancer screening (men 50 and older*)
- Colonoscopy to check for colon cancer (men 45 and older)
By encouraging the guys in your life to take even the smallest symptoms seriously and discuss them with their doctors, you will be helping them take a more active role in their own healthcare. And by educating yourself about potential male health problems and passing that information on to the men you love, you may also be able to save a life.
When All Else Fails
If there’s a man in your life that you’d like to see live a lot longer and still seems hesitant to go the doctor, here are a few more ways to get him to don a paper gown.
Make Wellness a Family Initiative: Let him know when you’re scheduling your own appointments for other family members and ask when he’s free to go in for his. By not singling out his need, you’re more likely to gain buy-in.
Remind Him of the Rewards: Many health conditions can have a negative impact on a man’s sexual performance. A simple reminder of this fact may be all the motivation he needs to schedule an appointment.
Encourage Better Bonding: Remind him that having a solid bond with his physician will be important later when he actually needs medical attention. A simple annual visit is a good way to start forging that relationship.
Hopefully all this gentle nudging will guide your man to making the right call (i.e. the one to the doctor). But if not, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment on his behalf and ask the doctor’s office to call and remind him of it. You could schedule your own checkup right before or after his, so you can stay healthy together.
Schedule a Fast & Easy Screening Today
If it’s been a while since the men you care about have been to the doctor for a routine physical, pick up the phone and schedule a visit. Bingham Memorial has expert physicians in heart health, weight loss, mental health, diabetes, internal medicine and more.
And with offices in Blackfoot, Idaho Falls, Pocatello, and Shelley, Bingham Memorial has a physician office near you. Call 785-4100 to find an office near you.
*African-American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer may wish to begin prostate screenings at age 40 or earlier.