How to encourage men to see the doctor

UCLA Health article
December 26, 2017
By uclahealth
3 min read

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men are less likely than women to see a doctor on a regular basis. But neglecting one’s health and missing important screenings can result in bigger health problems.

So how can women help make sure their male counterparts receive wellness checkups? Here are a few tips.

Just the facts

If there’s a man in your life who is reluctant to visit the doctor, sometimes you’ll need to help him understand the importance of prevention. Before you take an unwilling husband, brother, father or son to the doctor, offer these facts:

  • Men can have more complications from high blood pressure than women. One of these is erectile dysfunction because high blood pressure results in reduced blood flow to the penis during an erection.
  • More than 70 percent of sudden heart attack events happen to men. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death in men.
  • Cancer is the second-leading cause of death for men. Lifestyle modifications and appropriate screening can help prevent the top three cancers — prostate, lung and colorectal — and early detection vastly improves treatment options and recovery.
  • Men develop diabetes slightly more frequently than women. While many symptoms are the same between genders, low testosterone and increased erectile dysfunction are unique to men.

Strategies for getting him to the doctor

Once your male loved one understands these health realities, it’s time to take action. Men, like women, should receive an annual physical exam by their primary care physician. If needed, the doctor will arrange for additional tests such as blood work and colon cancer screening. If he receives a clean bill of health, set an appointment for the following year.

Sometimes supplying information isn’t enough. In these instances, consider making your health care appointment on the same day as your male loved one’s. Build a lunch date into your joint day of health.

Lifesaving screenings make financial sense

If a reluctant male has obvious health concerns, it is even more important to encourage him to get checked. Don’t wait for something small to become a health crisis. Hospital bills, time off work and major lifestyle changes can be costly.

Some men need a reminder that seeing the doctor isn’t a waste of resources. In fact, it is one of the most important things he can do for his family. Let him know that these screenings can go a long way toward keeping him in tip-top shape physically and financially:

  • Yearly blood pressure screening
  • Fasting blood test to screen for diabetes in men with a family history, symptoms or who have other risk factors
  • Baseline cholesterol screening. If normal, men over 35 can be screened every five years.
  • Colonoscopy screening at age 50, or earlier if there is a family history, and every 10 years after if the results are normal
  • Prostate exams beginning at age 50 (those with a family history should be screened earlier)
  • Yearly lung cancer screening for people between the ages of 55 and 80 who have a history of heavy smoking within the past 15 years

UCLA Health has more than 170 medical practices throughout Southern California.

Take the Next Step

Learn more about primary care practices or find a physician by calling 800-UCLA-MD1.