Getting men to talk to family about health is important
(WJBK) - As we gear up for men's health month, doctors are telling guys you need to speak frankly with your sons about their health.
Not only can it give clues about medical issues, but those conversations can trigger action avoid problems later in life.
As a teenager, Pedro Dumper developed a condition that, if not surgically corrected, would cause him to become infertile.
Even though it's an issue most teenage boys would be reluctant to bring up, he knew he could approach his father.
"If I hadn't talked to them a long time ago, right now it would already be too late," he said.
"I always try to create this open atmosphere at home to talk about everything, not only health," said Wander Almeida, his father.
But Pedro and his dad are more the exception than the rule.
A new national survey by Orlando Health found that four out of five men have never talked to a family member about sexual health.
Between the ages of 18-34, when it may be most important, men lagged far behind women.
The survey found young women are 90 percent more likely to talk to relatives, not only about sexual health, but also things like cancer and mental illness.
"I'm not surprised at all because I see it every day in my office. Guys that waited way too long to come see us," said Jamin Brahmdhatt, MD of Orlando Health.
So, to change that, doctors Jamin Brahmdhatt and Sijo Parekattil are launching Mission Manhood, a cross-country drive in their signature Tesla.
This is the fourth year for their Drive for Men's Health and the latest effort to get men to take an important first step in making their health a priority.
"What I realized in the past four years doing the drive for men's health is that it's OK to talk," Brahmbhatt said.
"I think that's when people start to feel or hear about what their friends are doing, what other guys are doing," said Sijo Parekattil.
This year, on the road from Orlando to Salt Lake City and at stops along the way, the doctors are focusing on family.
They say health conversations among male relatives are especially important, and are actually easier than you might think.
"If they see dad opening up and talking about these issues then, you know, I think it makes them a lot more comfortable," said Parekattil.
"It's not difficult. Just try it," said Almeida. "Take the first step, and you'll see how easy it will flow."
"It's your family," Dumper said. "And they just want to take care of you."
Learn more and follow the doctors on their journey HERE.