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May 26, 2016

Healthy Living: Why Men Don’t Like to Go to the Doctor?

There are many reasons why men simply don’t access the healthcare system as often as women do – and no, gentlemen – it has nothing to do with being stronger or healthier. Across the world, the problem is the same. With Father’s Day quickly approaching, I took the opportunity to seek the advice of one male physician for a bit of real talk as to why our Belizean men need to start heading to the doctor.  Here is this week’s Healthy Living.

 

Dr. Fernando Cuellar, Internist, Belize Medical Associates

“I’m happy that you’re here to talk about men’s health. We men always often feel jealous that most attention is placed on women’s health.”

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Ask any doctor, visit any clinic and it is very apparent that when it comes to accessing healthcare, it is still women who take the lead. The limited contact men do have with the healthcare system is usually to diagnose or remedy existing problems and very rarely for regular screening and preventative care. This is one area that physicians, like Doctor Cuellar, are hoping will change.

 

Fernando Cuellar

Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“You can be feeling top of the world without any symptoms or complaints but you still need to go to your caregiver to get a check a review or an assessment. Sometimes things are found out way before and be averted or remedied and we can avoid certain complications. From childhood, adolescence, from a young adult, you should get a yearly check. If you’re fourteen, sixteen, twenty, twenty-seven you should go ahead and get that yearly check up. As men get responsible, or are on their own, maybe late teens or early twenties that’s the time. If you get a job, set aside that money every year to go and get that check.”

 

Routine checkups should be scheduled yearly. An easy practice is to schedule on or near birthdays or special days like this upcoming father’s day. A routine checkup is based on answering questions from the doctor and a comprehensive blood test.

Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“You would start first with your caregiver, with your physician or nurse to discuss complaints or symptoms. It’s always good to have a family history to know your mother, father, and grandparents’ medical history. To see f there are any hypertension, diabetes, then you would discuss the symptoms. Then you would have a physical taken, your blood pressure taken, your heart, lungs, very simple signs your will look for to see if there is any problem. Of course this will be complimented with blood test. Here at medical we’re having a little promotion being its June and its father’s day, so including a simple check like blood count, hemoglobin count, a kidney function test, a cholesterol test and if you’re over the age of forty, then you get a PSA. Which will check the prostate. I hear a lot of things: something will kill me; I will die from something at sometime. But who wouldn’t die by not waking up in the morning. But unfortunately it’s not like that, you suffer, your quality of life, the quality of your family life it takes a toll big time especially when you go through illness and especially serious illness. Most of the time, if not all the time, it’s through the women; through the mothers, the girlfriends, the wives, the sisters. That I find is the most effective way. If it’s left to men they’ll say, “nah I feel good.” It will be the women who say on your birthday…you give them a package of health.”

 

Cuellar says even though he’s begun seeing more men accessing healthcare; it is still an area that needs more attention

 

Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“Smart up. Stop. Realize that you mek out of steel, you no mek out of iron, we do get ill and we can prevent a lot of thing. If you care for yourself or you care about your family. You will take care of yourself earlier.”

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