Regular doctors visits are vital to men's health, doctor says

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By: Mary Kuhlman/Indiana News Service

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s a medical mystery: Why don’t men go to the doctor as often as women?

This is Men’s Health Month, time for a friendly reminder from a physician or partner that it may be time for a checkup. Men live an average of five fewer years than women and have higher death rates for almost every leading cause of death. Part of the problem, said Dr. Easa Ghoreishi, assistant clinical professor of family practice at Indiana University. could be that men make only half as many preventive-care doctor visits as do women.

“They don’t come in, they try to live with pain, kind of keep working, they often become role of providers for their families,” he said, “and I think we have to induce that in men that they have to come in and get checkups in their 30s, 40s, more often.”

The perils of procrastination are evident in older Americans, Ghoreishi said. By age 65, eight out of 10 people have at least one chronic health condition – and five out of 10 have more than one. He said he hopes men of all ages who keep putting off those regular checkups can do their part to reverse the trend.

Ghoreishi, a member of the board of advisers for the Men’s Health Network, advised men to be mindful of chronic diseases including hypertension, obesity and cholesterol as well as cancers of the lung, skin and prostate. He said there are other issues such as sleep apnea or low testosterone that affect quality of life.

“There’s science behind everything that we could help men with,” he said. “Prescriptions that are approved and address the needs that men can actually function and improve longevity and functionality and, in the meanwhile, continue to be productive.”

Eating healthy and staying active also are essential to good health, said Ghoreishi, as are regular doctor visits.