(BPT) - When it comes to health, perception is not always reality. This is especially
true when considering how men care for themselves when faced with a health condition.
In fact, while most men would say they are more focused on their health than they
have been in the past, physicians report a different truth. This difference is especially
concerning when it comes to treating chronic conditions, because failure to follow
treatment regimens may lead to bigger health problems in the future.
Missed appointments and opportunities
According to research from the American Academy of Family Physicians, which surveyed
its member physicians, one in five doctors said up to half of their male patients failed to
fill a prescription. In addition, one in three doctors said that up to half of their male
patients did not take a prescription as directed. Four in ten reported that up to half of
their male patients failed to follow up with a regular routine test when ordered for their condition.
In addition, nearly a quarter of surveyed doctors said up to half of their male patients
failed to show up for planned follow-up visits.
These missed opportunities come at a
time when chronic conditions among men continue to rise. According to the National Ambulatory
Medical Survey, diagnoses of three common, yet potentially severe, conditions all have
increased year over year. The data shows that cases of high blood pressure (4 percent increase),
high cholesterol (5 percent) and diabetes (2 percent) have all seen notable increases.
“People may not take these conditions seriously because they don’t have
any noticeable symptoms, and that’s a big mistake,” says John Meigs, Jr., MD,
president of the AAFP. “High blood pressure and high cholesterol have been
called ‘silent killers’ for a reason. If they aren’t controlled,
they can lead to heart attack, stroke or kidney disease. In addition to these
complications, uncontrolled diabetes also can cause blindness, nerve damage and loss of limbs.
“So it’s vital that men see their doctors, get preventive care and follow
instructions for any chronic diseases they may have.”
Finding solutions for ongoing care
Fortunately, taking a more proactive approach to health care is easier than most men
think. A visit to your family physician is the first step toward taking charge of your
health and identifying any health issues. Your family physician will help you learn
about any chronic conditions you might have and how to treat them. For health
information that is easy to understand, visit
You’ll find a men’s guide to preventive health care, and information about healthy diets and weight control. Follow the advice provided here, as well as your doctor’s recommendations, and you’ll turn your goal for good health from simple perception into reality.