There's no denying that men will do anything to avoid going to the doctor, even if they're facing some of the biggest health issues such as heart disease or stroke. The situation is even more dire if you're a middle-aged "macho man" and strongly idealize masculinity, according to a new study presented at the 104th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Although compared to women, men occupy a higher socioeconomic position--which is usually associated with better overall health--they have a life expectancy five years less than women and higher rates of 12 of the 15 leading causes of death. Surviving many of these conditions requires early diagnosis and treatment, while delaying or totally avoiding annual physicals and doctor's visits endangers your health.

Furthermore, several of the diseases men are most likely to die from can be prevented, such as these five biggest health issues for all men:

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the biggest health issue for men, affecting about 25 percent of all men, according to the CDC. It's the leading cause of death for both men and women, but men are twice as likely to die from a cardiovascular problem as women. The American Heart Association (AHA) also states that men have a higher risk of heart attacks than women do and have them earlier in life.

Some of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease that can be prevented are leading an inactive lifestyle, a high-fat diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, stress, and in some cases, high blood pressure.


The CDC lists cancer as the second leading cause of death for men behind heart disease. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and can be avoided through using proper sun protection and not using sun tanning beds. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), early detection and treatment are highly successful for skin cancer. They also report that all cancers caused by smoking and alcohol can be prevented. Plus, about one-third of the over 562,000 cancer deaths expected to occur this year will be due to overweight, obesity, physical inactivity and poor nutrition - all of which can be prevented.

Unintentional Injuries

These are the third biggest health issues for men, and include car-related injuries, falls, fire injuries, firework injuries, impaired driving and water-related injuries. Sophe Unintentional Injury and Violence Prevention points out that unintentional injuries do not happen randomly - they have risk and protective factors that make them preventable.

Furthermore, delaying treatment for unintentional injuries such as a concussion from a fall or fire, or alcohol abuse that factors into impaired driving, can lead to other health complications including disability and cirrhosis.


Heart disease and stroke share common risk factors, including a sedentary lifestyle, overweight or obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking. Conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol don't have visible symptoms and need to be diagnosed by a doctor, again reinforcing the importance of regular check-ups. Sometimes these health issues can be treated by changing your diet and getting more exercise, which your doctor can advise you on during your visit. In other circumstances, to control the problem, you may need a drug that you can only get by prescription from a doctor.

Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases

Coming in at number five among the biggest health issues for men are chronic diseases of the lower respiratory tract (and the lungs), which include asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.

When you suffer from both chronic bronchitis and emphysema it's referred to as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). All chronic lower respiratory diseases are treatable when caught early. The leading cause of COPD is smoking, with men who smoke being 12 times more likely to die from the disease than non-smoking men. Also, exposure to chemicals in the workplace increases the risk of COPD. 

4 Ways to Make Doctor's Visits Easier

1. Think of your body as you do your car - just as your car needs a tune-up for optimal performance, so does your body.

2. Go with your partner. Studies show that men are more likely to visit the doctor if their partners book the appointment.

3. Schedule an early appointment. Waiting time is one of the main deterrents to men going to see the doctor. Try to get the first appointment of the day to cut down on wait time.

4. Think of your family. Taking care of your health is one of the best things you can do for your family. Early diagnosis and treatment of these biggest health issues can increase the odds that you'll be around for a long time to enjoy their graduations, first jobs, or your grandkids.