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Eye on Health: Why men don't go to the doctor

WSBT 22

It's more than a myth: Men tend to get regular health screenings less frequently than women. There are lots of reasons why men ignore their own health, but few, if any, are good.

The American Heart Association just came out with a top-10 list of why men put off doctor visits. They range from "I don't have a doctor or insurance" to "I don't want to hear what might be wrong."

Dr. Dan Berger is a primary care physician at Goshen Health. He says his belief is many men feel pressure to be strong.

"You're not supposed to have or show weakness. If you go to a doctor, you're saying, 'I could get sick.' It's like you're admitting that you're human, that something bad can happen to you,” Berger said.

But the doctor says, not unlike getting the oil changed or a tune up for your car, it's also about prevention.

“You're not thinking. 'Hey I'm doing great, feel good, feel healthy,' then you hit that brick wall when that chronic disease sneaks up on you that you didn't know you were going to have, and now you're playing catchup,” Berger said.

Berger says his bottom line piece of advice is to make sure you're not hiding from a simple visit that could save your life

"Keep in mind, most of the time when you're feeling healthy, you are healthy,” Berger said. “And when we do all these screening tests, chances are they're going to come back negative.”

For men, the most common screenings are for prostate cancer and a colonoscopy after the age of 50. But doctors should also make sure immunizations are up to date, do lung scans for smokers and more.

That's along with blood pressure checks and blood work that can find high cholesterol, blood sugar problems and the like.

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