According to a study cited by the CDC, when it comes to seeing a doctor for annual exams and preventive services, men are less likely than women to do so. In fact, twice as many men as women had no contact with a doctor over a year’s time. Men tend to avoid seeing doctors for many reasons, including lack of health insurance and time, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

Still, ongoing preventive care is one of the most critical ways of remaining healthy. However, many men just do not think there is a need unless they are sick and this misconception is one of the many harmful myths that men choose to believe regarding their health.

Myth 1 | I only need to see a doctor when I do not feel well

In matters related to health, issues often occur without warning. For instance, your blood pressure may be high, without your body displaying even one symptom. Or, a man may have diabetes for up to 15 years, as it gradually harms his kidneys, vision, or heart before he notices any symptoms. The same holds true for cholesterol levels.

Myth 2 | I can eat whatever I want, as long as I am skinny

Thin men can have cholesterol problems too. Keeping your cholesterol in check is essential. Heart disease is responsible for one in four male deaths in the U.S., according to the CDC. Limiting saturated fats, no matter your weight is only the beginning of gaining the reins on your cholesterol levels.

Myth 3 | Erectile dysfunction is a just sexual issue

Erectile dysfunction can indicate severe and hidden health problems. Including diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Erectile dysfunction may also signal a blocked artery or high blood pressure, both of which could lead to a stroke. Or, it could be a sign of depression. Do not ignore or quickly dismiss erectile issues. Occasional erectile dysfunction is not uncommon if you are under stress or with someone new. Even so, for any prolonged concerns, a doctor’s visit is needed.

Myth 4 | It is natural for me to lose muscle mass as I age

Do not blame a spare tire on age, and do not take hardly being able to walk upstairs lightly. These difficulties tend to be about lifestyle. As you age, your risk of chronic disease rises, so it is vital to remain active. Change your eating, drinking, and sleeping habits for the better, if you hope to live longer.

Myth 5 | Only senior men are impacted by Alzheimer’s

In reality, men in their late 40s to early 50s can develop early onset Alzheimer’s dementia. In the U.S., about a third of those with early-onset dementia are men, according to Alzheimer’s Association estimates. True, there is no simple cure for dementia, but taking care of your health is a treatment option. In fact, living a healthy lifestyle may prolong the onset of the illness!

Admittedly, these myths are easy to believe. They make us feel better, but they should not control your life. Take reins of your life and make changes now. Talk to a doctor and learn what changes you need to make.