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3 Reasons Why Men Need a Doctor

June 19, 2023

Men may be known as the “tougher sex,” but the facts say otherwise. The longevity gap between men and women continues to increase, and men are at higher risk of dying from almost every cause.

“Males are generally perceived as tougher and more resilient. We learn the ‘toughen up’ mentality young and that can lead to treating medical problems later when they are more difficult to treat,” says Ardit Shehu, DO, primary care provider with Hartford HealthCare Tallwood Men’s Health.

Luckily, there’s a simple solution. Routine check-ups and screenings can catch problems early enough for successful treatment, says Dr. Shehu.

Not convinced? Here are three reasons why it’s time for you (or the men in your life) to head to the doctor.

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Men may be less healthy than women.

Are men actually less healthy than women? The numbers tell a story:

  • Mortality is higher in men at all ages.
  • Life expectancy is 79.1 years for women, 73.2 for men – the largest gap in 25 years.
  • More men die of cancer – 189.5 per 100,000 – than women (135.7).
  • More men die of diabetes – 31.2 per 100,000 – than women (19.5).
  • Four times more men die from suicide.
  • In 2020, 72% of motor vehicle crash deaths were men.
  • More boys ages 10 to 19 die – 44.5 per 100,000 – than girls (21.3) the same age.

One reason for the discrepancy starts at a young age.

“Males seem less risk averse than females, especially at younger ages. This causes serious injuries and ailments that carry throughout life,” he adds.

> Related: Caring for the Entire Man, Not Just the Symptom

But men are less likely to see a doctor than women.

A major difference, Dr. Shehu says, is that more women see their doctors regularly.

“I still have a surprising number of patients who come in to appease their wife, saying, ‘There’s nothing wrong.’ After a bit of conversation, we end up tackling issues they put off for years or think are normal,” Dr. Shehu explains.

One example, he continues, is enlarged prostate symptoms. Often after treatment, they admit they didn’t realize how bad the symptoms were because they just dealt with them.

“We do a great job encouraging men to get the help they need and making it accessible,” Dr. Shehu says of Tallwood Men’s Health, which offers services like behavioral health, cardiology and weight loss in one location for ease of access. “Our nurse navigator creates a system of following up to make sure nobody falls through the cracks.”

And for those who think the women overutilize healthcare, while men use it more appropriately, think again.

“The data speaks for itself. Shorter lifespans and increased death rates at all ages provide clear evidence. It’s appropriate utilization by women and underutilization by men,” Dr. Shehu says.

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Men’s health can impact the whole family.

Encouraging men to visit the doctor is not only beneficial to them but their families as well, he stresses.

“Poor health of any family member always affects everyone in the family. However, when husbands and fathers are ill, this increases stress levels for their partners and children because they are often the strong financial contributors, support systems and help educate and raise children,” Dr. Shehu explains.

“If they let their health limit their ability to make these daily contributions, it can be burdensome and stressful for families.”