Encourage dads to get a “tune up” this Father’s Day

There’s a good chance Washington dads haven’t been in for a routine doctor’s checkup in a while. For Father’s Day, medical professionals suggest dads get themselves a gift and go in for an exam, even if they don’t have any pressing health issues.

Dr. Scott Itano, a family medicine physician with Kaiser Permanente’s Bellevue Medical Center, says some men’s aversion to the doctor’s office starts at an early age and persists throughout life. But he says they should consider an appointment like they do a tuneup for their car.

“You’ve got to treat yourself better than you do your car. You know, you take your car in for an oil change twice a year, and some men never see a doctor for 3, 4, 5 years,” says Itano. “So at least getting your foot in the door is the most important thing.”

Dr. Itano says preventive care is a great way to stay out of the doctor’s office in the long run. Preventive care usually entails counseling on weight, exercise, and diet. It’s also a time when men can discuss more sensitive topics, such as substance use and abuse, mental health, and sexual health. (See preventive care recommendations by age.)

Dr. Itano says there are a lot of components that keep men away, including fear of being vulnerable or having personal problems exposed. He says ideas about what is masculine could also play a role in this. One way to combat these anxieties is to find the right doctor.

“Sometimes men just have hard time opening up and trusting and developing a relationship with their doctor, and so that’s where I think finding a doctor who connects with you and who you trust is really important to find,” says Dr. Itano.

He adds having a primary care physician also helps when a serious condition does come up because that doctor already has the inside scoop on a person’s health.

If you’re a current Kaiser Permanente Washington member, sign in to kp.org/wa to find a primary care physician that is right for you and schedule an appointment.
Article originally published in June 2018 by Public News Service.

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