NEW YORK — When was your last check up? A survey of 2,000 Americans found that 60% have avoided seeking medical attention for a variety of health issues they’re worried about, from depression to back pain. Financial concerns or just plain old fear of a bad diagnosis were among the top reasons keeping people away from the doctor’s office.
The majority of those in the survey, which was commissioned by hearing treatment company GN Hearing, indicated they would prefer to leave their medical problems alone, and take an “ignorance is bliss” approach. Unfortunately, many times that results in medical problems worsening. The average survey respondent who put off seeking medical attention did so for around 11 months before finally visiting a doctor.
For example, 42% of those surveyed said they suspect their hearing has declined in recent years, but only 15% have actually gone to a doctor or visited a ear care professional about it.
Overall, about 30% of survey participants admitted to dealing with an ongoing health concern that they haven’t sought medical attention for. Another 36% said they have hidden medical issues from their friends and family.
All of this procrastination is undoubtedly having an adverse effect on many Americans’ health; one third of respondents even say that they’ve had a medical condition worsen all because they didn’t visit a doctor soon enough.
In terms of conditions most avoided, those surveyed were least likely to visit a doctor for general aches and pains or a ligament sprain, insomnia, ringing ears, and general stiffness.
The top reasons behind waiting to see a professional were financial issues (51%), not thinking an ailment is a serious issue (42%), being too busy (30%), being too stressed (27%), and not wanting to receive bad news (26%).
Many in the survey even indicated they would think twice about following a medical professional’s recommendation. About one in 10 said they’d be unwilling to wear a back brace, glasses, or hearing aids just because these devices may be uncomfortable (54%), or too expensive (40%).
Perhaps the most shocking statistic of all: The average American hasn’t seen a general practice doctor in nearly three years.