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Men Urged to Lead by Example and See a Doctor Regularly

FRIDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Men may be far less likely than women to see a doctor, but there are many reasons why they should make the effort, a Loyola University physician says.

Men generally die younger than women and have higher death rates for heart disease, cancer, stroke and AIDS. But a U.S. survey found that women are three times more likely than men to see a doctor on a regular basis.

For many men, seeing a doctor just isn't a priority, said Dr. Timothy Vavra, a Loyola University Health System physician and an associate professor of internal medicine at Loyola's Stritch School of Medicine.

"They're not willing to make a lifestyle change so they think it's a waste of time listening to a doctor tell them to change the way they eat, to start exercising and stop smoking if they're not going to do it anyway," Vavra explained in a university news release.

But the longer a man delays seeing a doctor, he said, the more likely he'll end up having to see one on a regular basis.

"Prevention isn't 100 percent, but we can address issues and keep an eye out for warning signs," Vavra explained. "I have patients that, if they would've seen me more regularly, we could have made little changes that would have helped prevent them from having a medical crisis that resulted in a complete lifestyle change."

A medical crisis can also cause financial problems because of the costs of seeing specialists, paying for procedures and having to take medications.

Vavra also said that seeing a doctor is one of the best things a man can do for his family.

"A man may feel selfish or weak going to the doctor or caring for his health, but it makes a positive impact on the whole family," he noted. "Kids look to their parents for examples of how to live. So lead by example. If you live a healthy life, so will your kids."

More information

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has more about men's health.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Loyola University Health System, news release, June 8, 2011

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