Legacy in the News: LMG – Northwest physician: Men increasingly more proactive about seeking medical care

The Scribe

June 2014
Over the years, men have earned a reputation for their unwillingness to go to the doctor unless they were in severe pain or were strongly encouraged to go by family members. Shaun Lan, MD,  who specializes in family practice at Legacy Medical Group - Northwest, still sees plenty of male patients who made an appointment because their spouse or significant other told them to.

Recently, though, he began seeing an influx of younger male patients who now have insurance through the state's health care exchange. Lan said he is encouraged to see younger men being proactive about their health rather than waiting until they are older.

Among his older patients, Lan is receiving more questions about cholesterol medications thanks to new guidelines about who should be treated with statins.

The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology now recommend that people be evaluated based on their risk of having a heart attack or a stroke rather than simply their cholesterol numbers.

I think it’s increased the number of patients on statins by about 15 million, so now 87 percent of adult patients between 60 and 75 qualify for a statin, Lan said.

That’s a lot of patients, and there are a lot of questions about it.

Many of Lan's male patients also are asking about low testosterone, in large part because of the onslaught of television ads about it. He said spending on testosterone supplements has skyrocketed by 500 percent, and about 4 million American men are estimated to have low testosterone.

This is really picking up steam and I'm getting a lot of patients who are asking about it, and it’s because these TV commercials are really effective, he said.

However, many patients are discouraged to learn that testosterone testing is a fairly involved process that includes a conversation about potential risk factors and health issues that can contribute to low testosterone, such as obesity and sleep apnea.

The TV commercials really drive the conversation and people are asking for this test, but the first question really needs to be, `Why do you have low testosterone?'

“We need to look at some of those risk factors before we do the testing and supplementation,” Lan said.

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