Living Well

Here's to you, Dad!

Dr. Joshua Mizell
Here's to you, Dad!

Happy Father’s Day!

This Sunday, we will celebrate all the men in our lives who are called dad, whether it’s your father, husband, brother, or friend. Not to put a damper on the festivities surrounding Father’s Day, but there is another important male issue that occurs in June, and that’s the recognition of Men’s Health Month…hint, hint, men, the two are connected! We all may joke about how men avoid going to the doctor, but for many, it’s no laughing matter, as staying healthy means getting a thorough physical exam every year.

Some men will do anything to avoid the doctor

Every year, the renowned Cleveland Clinic focuses on a male-oriented campaign called MENtion It as a means of bringing greater awareness to men that they need to get an annual physical exam. In addition to the campaign, the medical facility recently conducted a survey asking men how they feel about getting medical care, and not surprisingly, 72 percent of the respondents said they would rather clean toilets and do other household chores than go to a doctor. When it came to questions about actually making an appointment and seeing a doctor, responses were:

  • 65 percent said they avoid going to the doctor as long as possible
  • 20 percent said they are not always honest with their doctor
  • 37 percent said they withheld important information from their doctor because they felt it would lead to a particular diagnosis, they were not ready to deal with

According to those in the medical field, if this sounds unreasonable, there is a reason for it. It comes down to one word – fear, or as one physician noted in an online health article that other contributing factors include “superhero syndrome and the fact that vulnerability sucks.”

Regardless, there are risks to avoiding an annual exam, and those risks increase as you age. There are specific health guidelines and annual preventative tests that should be run depending on your age. Those guidelines are broken down this way:

For those who remember the humorist author and “At Wit’s End” newspaper columnist Erma Bombeck, she once wrote that when evaluating physicians, “You should never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.” Obviously, the statement was meant to bring some lightheartedness to the topic, but today, you can actually talk to your doctor without going into an office, and that’s through telehealth, which has become a trendy alternative to an office visit. This could be the way to get back on track with annual exams, men, and the first step would be to communicate with your doctor to see if telehealth is an option. For patients at West Jefferson Medical Center, the first step is accessing the patient portal and communicating with your doctor.

Here’s to you, dad!

When it comes to celebrating Father’s Day, the concept of honoring fathers began in 1908 to honor 362 men who perished in a mining explosion in West Virginia. The following year, there was a push to make Father’s Day a national holiday, but it wasn’t until 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed a new law that declared the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. Today, it’s reported that more than 74 million men in the U.S. are fathers. Among them are some famous faces most of us would know, and their take on being a dad will leave you both laughing and thinking about all the possibilities that lie ahead as you and your children age:

  • Actor/comedian Ray Romano: “Having children is like living in a frat house. Nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up.”
  • Late news anchor Tim Russert: “The older I get, the smarter my father seems to get.”
  • Comedian Conan O’Brien: “Buying your kid a goldfish is a great way to teach them about responsibility for 24-36 hours.”
  • Comedian Jerry Seinfeld: “You can tell what was the best year of your father’s life because they seem to freeze that clothing style and ride it out.”

There should be one last quote, and that should come from all you dads; fill in the blank as surely there are sayings or stories that will put a smile on your face as you celebrate this day. Happy Father’s Day!

About Dr. Joshua Mizell
Dr. Mizell specializes in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and is Board Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Pediatrics. He has been part of the medical staff family at West Jefferson Medical Center since 2011 and has a special interest in adolescent medicine.