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A New Perspective: Men's struggle to see the doctor

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It's important to take care of our health but when it comes to the doctor, reports show one gender is far less likely to go than the other. 7 & 4's Courtney Curtis spoke with a physician at Munson Family Practice Center in Grand Traverse County who helped explain a possible reason behind why it's harder for men to get to the doctor.

It's important to take care of our health but when it comes to the doctor, reports show one gender is far less likely to go than the other.

7 & 4's Courtney Curtis spoke with a physician at Munson Family Practice Center in Grand Traverse County who helped explain a possible reason behind why it's harder for men to get to the doctor.

"Neither one of us really like to go to the doctor," said Meg Mulligan, New York.
"Right, but we go once or twice a year we'll go when we have to but that's it," said Ted Mulligan, New York.

"Talk to me about his doctor appointments," said 7 & 4's Courtney Curtis.
"What doctor appointments," asked Connie Steere, Arizona. "He doesn't go. He preaches but doesn't go."
"I do. In fact I'm going through physical therapy right now," said Dennis, Arizona.
"That's not a doctor," said Connie.
" Well, I had to go to the doctor first," said Dennis.
"Only because I made you," said Connie.
"Yes," said Dennis.

But Dennis isn't the only one.

A report from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention says women are 33% more likely than men to visit a doctor. And the rate of doctor visits - for reasons like annual exams and preventative services was 100% higher for women then men.

"Guys are less likely to come in then our female patients," said Dr. David Klee, M.D., F.A.A.F.P., Munson Family Practice Center. "I think a large part of that is men have been taught, if it's not broken, don't fix it and you know they have to kind of grin and bear it. So they tend to come in later in disease stage than women."

Dr. Klee says he wants men to understand it's important to come in earlier to help from having complications later.

"Usually when men are diagnosed with hypertension, diabetes, heart disease it's later than women and often it's because they are slower to present to their family physician for evaluation to problems," said Dr. Klee. "If we can get them to come in earlier then we can define problems- like high blood pressure and high cholesterol and treat them at earlier states and they're less likely to progress to significant heart disease causing heart attacks or strokes."

And Dr. Klee says he even teaches his residents ways to communicate with male patients.

"When you have a healthy man come into the office, you have to wonder why," said Dr. Klee. "So, there is usually a hidden agenda. Either the guy has a problem that he needs to talk about or there's a female in his life that has highly encouraged him to come in and get something checked out or get his preventative physical."

So, how do we convince men to go see their doctor?

"I pretty much make him go get a physical," said Meg Mulligan.
"She just says go," said Ted Mulligan.

"Yeah, I made you an appointment you're going," said Connie Steere.

"Taking care of families -its a great way that we can help pull the guys in because often we take care of the children and the dad sees our interaction with them and feels a little more comfortable and then will come in for his own care," said Dr. Klee.

And Dr. Klee says men often times say they don't have time for the doctor but he says no one has time to get sick either.

"We think it's real important to get prevention for our cars, with getting oil changes and checking your tires and changing your belts," said Dr. Klee. "And if we do that same type of preventive approach to our male patients we're going to push back heart disease and strokes and other complications that are going to cause a lot of problems for people down the road."

Dr. Klee says health insurance is another push to convince men to see their doctor.

He says some insurance companies are offering lower premiums and cheaper co-pay rates for annual physicals.

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