Most men feel healthier than most other men, so they skip primary care appointments

Survey finds 38% of men tend to pet health more than their own, but physician notes screenings are needed.

Most men feel they are healthier than other men – and they may stay away from primary care physicians because of that.

A new survey of men found 65% believe they are naturally healthier than others in general, and 33% don’t think they need annual health screenings, according to online research by The Harris Poll for Orlando Health, based in Orlando, Florida.

But staying away could lead to future health disasters.

“It is statistically impossible for the majority of men to be healthier than the majority of men,” primary care physician Thomas Kelley, MD, said in a news release. “Even if you think you’re healthy and you’re not experiencing any symptoms, there can be developing issues that often go unnoticed and can also be life-threatening if left unchecked. Some of those include rising blood pressure that can be a ticking time bomb for a heart attack or stroke, as well as colon cancer, which is one of the most deadly yet preventable cancers that exist.”

Kelley, of Orlando Health Physician Associates, said he “has heard every excuse for men skipping their appointments,” and the underlying reason often is fear.

“If you're a man and you haven't been to the doctor in a while, you don't really know what to expect,” Kelley said. “One of the big things that makes it less scary is having that great relationship with a primary care physician, and most men find the process to be easier than they thought. It takes about half an hour and by the end of the appointment you have the big picture about where you stand, what you’re at risk for and what you need to do for your health in the future.”
While the first appointment back can be nerve-racking, building trust can help make conversations more comfortable and that keeps many patients coming back year after year, Kelley said.
But before doctors can build that relationship, they need to get patients in the door, according to Orlando Health. The survey found 38% of men often get medical advice from social media, “which can be extremely problematic if they are not referencing reputable medical sources.”

The survey found 38% of men admit they tend to focus on their pet’s health more than their own, and Kelley said that is not surprising.
“Men tend to put their health last after their family, and apparently even after their dog or their cat,” Kelley said. “But in order to take care of others in your life, you first have to take care of yourself, and that includes making that yearly appointment with your primary care doctor.”

The survey was conducted online May 9-11 in the United States, with responses from 893 men aged 18 and older.