Why are men more likely to avoid doctor visits?

Dubai: Most men are reluctant to visit their doctors and are more likely to have a serious condition when they make a visit, UAE-based doctors have said.

Men lead women in all the 15 leading causes of death except Alzheimer’s disease, and compared to women, men mostly avoid doctor visits until their medical condition begins to hamper their routine daily activity, they said.

This attitude, according to internal medicine specialists, can have serious repercussions on their health.

Echoing the same observation, Dr Mustafa Saif, Specialist, Internal Medicine and H.O.D Emergency Department at Aster Hospital, said there could be a general lack of awareness about the importance of consulting a specialist upon observing unusual symptoms, but also men do not consider the need to visit a doctor and hope the issue will go away with time.

“There is a difference between feeling healthy and being healthy. The most common reason given for men not visiting the doctor is because they are healthy, but how do you know that? There are a lot of medical conditions that do not depict any physical symptoms until they get severe,” Dr Saif said.

However, he said he has seen some improvement in men taking better responsibility for their health, especially among the younger generation who are more aware and health conscious.

He pointed out some of the most commonly disregarded symptoms that men should watch out for include acid reflux, chest pain, frequent urination and snoring.

“Acid reflux is mostly mistaken to gas as a result of over eating. Most people suffer from acid reflux at some point in life but for a lot of people this could lead to a chronic lifelong condition. Chest pain is also often misinterpreted for a symptom related to that of a heart condition, it is often ignored until it gets severe. Firstly, it is important to understand that chest pain could also be caused due to Gastroesophageal reflux disease and other health conditions.”

He added that frequent urination, which is a common sign of diabetes, should be noted, while excessive snoring, on the other hand, can be due to an underlying condition.

“Diabetes is a chronic condition that drastically affects life of those suffering from it, if left uncontrolled. Snoring is not harmful, but obstructive sleep apnea could lead to many clinical conditions like hypertension, lack of concentration, metabolic syndrome and strokes, if left untreated,” he said.

According to Dr Saif, men are also generally less likely to visit a specialist complaining of a cold or an ache unless the condition gets severe.

The doctors advised paying attention to the body’s warning signs and symptoms and seeking medical advice at an earlier stage so any condition can be diagnosed at an early stage and treated.