Men’s Health Month: It’s OK, the Doctor Won’t Bite

Mike Moen | Public News Service
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 13% of adult males in the United States are in fair or poor health. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

June is Men’s Health Month, and some providers still are trying to convince more men to make room for wellness visits on their calendar. A South Dakota physician says shrugging things off eventually could land you in a medical setting more frequently.

Mark Beard, a specialist in family medicine and men’s health for Sanford Health, said men typically start to avoid doctor visits after their teenage years, when they no longer have required physicals for things such as team sports. Instead, he said, they should embrace having regular talks with their provider. That way, they’ll feel comfortable discussing minor issues that can snowball into bigger problems.

“Whether that’s a joint of concern, or maybe they’re having a little bit of chest tightness or chest pain – and then ultimately come in with a heart attack,” he said, “or, maybe they’ve got a little bit of headache or numbness and they miss early signs of a stroke.”

In a survey last year from Aflac, 45% of men said they didn’t visit a family doctor or general practitioner for an annual check-up or wellness visit. Another 84% said they didn’t follow up with a provider for a specific injury.

Through social media and television ads, a lot of products focus on boosting testosterone. However, Beard suggested that those supplements shouldn’t be the only things that motivate men to improve their health.

“Just because you’re fatigued, or you don’t have the build or the look that you had when you were a teenager or an early adult, doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s the cause of all of your problems,” he said.

He said regular visits can help detect issues that might make you feel worn down. Beard added that weight-loss drugs and other supplements are not replacements for establishing a healthy lifestyle plan focused on eating better and getting regular physical activity – plans that can be mapped out in conversations with your doctor.

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