With Father's Day right around the corner, many of us will take time to thank dear old Dad. But many dads don't pay attention to their health. Studies and surveys show men are less likely to get regular health checkups. Some dads don't visit the doctor for decades.
Forty-one-year-old Joel Cape visits the doctor's office every three months. But that wasn't always the case. Before Cape was diagnosed with diabetes seven years ago, he would go half a decade or more before going to the doctor.
"A lot of times for me if it wasn't necessary, it didn't get done. There were too many other things that were necessary or I felt were more necessary," Cape said.
"It's rare in my practice that I see a woman who's 50, 60-years-old that comes to the doctor and says they haven't seen the doctor in 20 or 30 years. It's very common to see men walk in here at 50, 60-years-old and say they haven't seen a physician in 20 or 30 years," Sanford Dr. Mark Lounsbery said.
While many men may be hesitant to go to the doctor, Doctor Mark Lounsbery says it's important and can make a huge difference in your health.
"All yearly evaluations help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, finding it early and obviously reducing the risk of death," Lounsbery said.
Lounsbery points out four screenings that are particularly important. Despite recent controversy, Lounsbery says men over the age of 40 or 50 should be screened every year for prostate cancer. He also says after the age of 20, men should get their cholesterol checked yearly.
"When we look at risks for heart disease, we have several factors. Cholesterol is a very important one," Lounsbery said.
Another checkup that may seem small but can help in a big way is getting your weight checked by a doctor every year and discussing it.
And lastly, but Lounsbery says most importantly, men should get their blood pressure checked at least every year.
"Blood pressure has the long-standing name of silent killer, and that's pretty indicative because many people can have blood pressures exceedingly high and have no idea that they have any blood pressure problems at all," Lounsbery said.
Cape says he regrets the years he failed to go to the doctor and says now it's a major priority.
"I know it's improved my health. It's also helped me feel better and function better," Cape said.
Lounsbery says it also doesn't hurt for women to urge the men in their lives to visit the doctor and pay attention to their health.