Despite massive public health campaigns touting the importance of preventative care, the fact remains that nearly 60 percent of men refuse to see doctors even if they believe they have serious health problems. The reasons are both sociological and medical in nature, according to UCI Health.
This reluctance to visit the doctor for preventative care could be primarily responsible for the fact that women live longer than men. In fact, a 2005 report from the CDC reveals that there are 21 million women over the age of 65 compared to only 15 million men. At least, those are the differences between men and women in the U.S.
Why are the Differences so Pronounced?
Perhaps it’s a matter of practicality or even familiarity. Women visit doctors offices throughout their lives for access to important medications like birth control, annual exams, and when having babies. Then, when they have children, they are in and out of doctor’s offices to care for their growing children. They are simply more familiar with the process of visiting doctor’s offices and more likely to do so when they suspect something is wrong.
For men, the process is less familiar. As a result, it’s not the first thought that comes to mind when they suspect something is wrong. Additionally, women are more likely to discuss their health concerns amongst themselves and to seek medical care based on the advice and experience of other women.
Men are more stoic and far less likely to discuss things like erectile dysfunction treatments or cancer fears with other men – or anyone for that matter. Even their wives.
How Can Women Help their Spouses Seek More Routine Medical Care?
There are many things women can do to encourage their partners to seek medical attention and preventative medical care. One of the most important things for men who view themselves as providers and the money managers in the home is to discuss the dollars and cents of preventative care verses a wait and see approach. According to The Balance, health care costs are the leading cause of U.S. bankruptcies. More importantly, The Balance goes on to report, that 46 percent of retired people were forced into retirement for health issues rather than a desire to retire. That might set die-hard providers on the straight and narrow.
Of course, the other thing women can do is schedule appointments for their partners and encourage them to be honest with their doctors about any health concerns they may have. Finally, women should discuss health concerns openly with their partners and encourage them to do the same.