Many in Britain put off seeing doctor

June 6, 2012 at 11:18 PM   |   Comments

BRISTOL, England, June 6 (UPI) -- A British Department of Health poll found one-third of people in their 60s put off seeing their doctor, hoping a problem will just go away, officials say.

Sixty-two percent overall -- and 71 percent of men -- said they thought health problems were inevitable in one's 60s, while 50 percent said they did not want to be seen as hypochondriacs or time-wasters. Health officials said members of this "ostrich generation" could be risking their health, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Professor Ken Fox, an expert on healthy aging at Bristol University, said about 10 percent told pollsters they would rather not know if a problem was serious -- even though doctors have much more success if they diagnose life-threatening conditions like heart disease and cancer early.

"We're not saying your body won't change as you get older, it will, but it's important to get any unusual twinges and niggles checked out by a GP at the earliest opportunity rather than burying your head in the sand," Fox told the Telegraph.

Dr. Ian Watson, a primary care physician, said often those age 60 and older greet their doctor with, "Sorry to bother you," but he said this tendency has to stop.

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