Your wife could save your life

March 5, 2010 3:37:07 PM PST
What women may be doing is simply going to the doctor more frequently than men. Whether it's fear of prostate cancer or of heart disease, men of all ages tend to ignore symptoms and often don't go to the doctor to have them checked. Living longer for men man mean changing how they think about life.

Drew Matilsky is 46. He's been coming to see Dr. Marianne Legato for over ten years. Before that, he subscribed to a typical male philosophy.

"We're invincible. We're invincible. Before I saw Dr. Legato, I basically never went to a doctor," Matilsky said.

But a family death made Drew consider his own life and his family. Now, he gets regular checkups. He may be in the minority, says Dr. Legato, the author of "Why Men Die First."

"Most men are socialized that if they don't feel invulnerable they should act as if they're invulnerable. They ignore their health and when a crisis arises, will spend as little time as possible solving it," Dr. Legato said.

Dr. Legato says young men often use sports coaches are medical advisors, and are taught to suck it up, ignore concussions and pain. The result can be a young man in his thirties who will ignore chest pain that can signal a fatal heart attack.

It's often that a man's wife is more attentive to her husband's health than he is.

Sam Nole is an accountant. His rule about a health problem?

"I'll wait until after tax season to take care of it," he said.

But his wife watched recently as he got more and more lethargic and took action.

"I said what I'm about to tell you is not open to discussion. We have a 9:00 a.m. Appointment with Dr Legato," Lillian McGrath-Nole explained.

Sam had severe liver problems and dangerous high blood pressure.

"She sent me to have a body image done and took charge of my medical condition and saved my life as a result," nole said.

It's not just wives and girlfriends who can act. It's other family members who can suggest that a person gets medical care and do it in a non-confronting way for a better chance the advice will stick. Don't forget that women may be so busy with family concerns that they forget their own health, and husbands may have to give the gentle push.

Dr. Legator is holding a men's health seminar on Sunday, March 7 starting at 2:30 p.m. For more information, please visit