6/11/02 - Getting Dad to the Doctor

Father's Day is right around the corner, and many of you may still be looking for that perfect gift for dad. But the best gift you can give him won't cost you a thing and it could save his life. Monday we showed you that nation-wide men visit a doctor 150 million fewer times every year than women! So the best gift you can give your dad this Father's Day is to talk him into getting regular exams. Something Lester Whitticre wishes he would have started doing a long time ago.

Whitticre says, "I didn't think I needed it." That's the attitude most men have, an attitude that costs many of them serious health problems. "All the problems I have, I have to do the doctor because I have so much wrong with me," Whitticre says. Part of the price he paid for not visiting a doctor sooner. Now looking back Whitticre realizes how important regular doctor visits are, and now health problems, like migraine headaches, have him going to the doctor every six weeks. It's something his doctor says Whitticre should've started a long time ago. Dr. Anthony Keele says, "Most men feel they're pretty much healthy, and they've been pretty much healthy since childhood so they stay away from the doctor, unless they're sick. They think they just don't have much to gain from it. Most of the common health problems that can cause big health problems or death in men are things like hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes." All of these things can be diagnosed early if men go to the doctor, and the earlier they're caught, the better they can be treated.

Men don't have to do it alone though, family members can help. "The best way is to have a frank discussion with them and tell them you're concerned about their health and well being and you want them to be around as long as they can, Dr. Keele says.

Here are some tips on getting dad to the doctor. Offer to pay for his office visit. Ask him to do it as a favor to you. Find him a doctor he can go to regularly, and show him statistics of deaths related to common male illnesses.