AAFP Survey: Too Many Men Ignore Doctors’ Orders

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Thursday, June 1, 2017

Stephanie Wilken
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 5221
swilken@aafp.org
 

LEAWOOD, Kan. — American men are not listening to their doctors. Despite an increase in chronic conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, up to half of men seeking a doctor’s care don’t follow their physicians’ recommendations, according to a physician survey by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

The survey asked family physicians what percentage of their male patients followed through on specific recommendations: filling a prescription, taking a prescription as directed or keeping their follow-up appointments. Results showed that more than nine out of 10 physician respondents reported half of their male patients failed to follow those recommendations.

“This is a distressing finding, since the incidence of chronic conditions in men has increased, ” said John Meigs, Jr., MD, president of the AAFP, comparing the most recent data from the 2012 and 2013 National Ambulatory Medical Surveys. “We saw concerning increases in high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes in just one year. These conditions respond well to chronic care management, and your family physician can provide the treatment you need.”

  • The National Ambulatory Medical Survey showed that, in one year:
  • The incidence of high blood pressure among men grew from three in 10 (32.7 percent) to closer to four in 10 (36 percent).
  • The percentage of men who were diagnosed with high cholesterol jumped from slightly more than two in 10 (23.6 percent) to nearly three in 10 (28.5 percent).
  • Diabetes rose by two percentage points -- from 14.1 percent to 16.6 percent.
  • Despite those increases, many men don’t follow up with filling or taking their prescriptions as directed, according to the AAFP survey of members:
  • Two out of 10 (22 percent) of doctors said up to half of their male patients did not fill a prescription.
  • Nearly a third (32 percent) of doctors said up to half their male patients did not take a prescription as directed.
  • More than four out of 10 doctors (42 percent) said up to half of their male patients failed to follow up with a regular or routine test when ordered for their condition.
  • Nearly one in four doctors said up to half of their male patients failed to show up for a follow-up visit.

“People may not take these conditions seriously because they don’t have any noticeable symptoms, and that’s a big mistake,” said Meigs. “High blood pressure and high cholesterol have been called ‘silent killers’ for a reason. If they aren’t controlled, they can lead to heart attack, stroke or kidney disease. In addition to these complications, uncontrolled diabetes also can cause blindness, nerve damage, and loss of limbs.

“So it’s vital that men see their doctors, get preventive care and follow instructions for any chronic diseases they may have.”

Meigs pointed to the AAFP’s consumer web site, familydoctor.org, as a good source of information about chronic illness. The site includes a men’s guide to preventive health care(familydoctor.org) and information about healthy diets and weight control.(familydoctor.org)

“Knowing more about your health will help you understand the importance of maintaining your relationship with a family physician,” said Meigs. “By actively participating with their health care team, men will feel good and have better overall health over time.”

For more information and additional men's health resources, click here.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 129,000 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit
www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).