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Warning on over-60s ignoring their health

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A “worrying” number of people in their 60s are ignoring their health, a new study has found.

According to new Department of Health figures, almost a third (31%) of people in their 60s put off visiting their GP because they think problems will simply go away.

And almost two-thirds (62%) tiptoe around their health concerns because they believe these are inevitable and not worth reporting, with the figure even higher (71%) for men.

Professor Ken Fox, an expert in older people’s health from Bristol University, said: “We are not saying your body won’t change as you get older, it will, but it is 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.”

The study found that almost half (47.7%) of people in their 60s surveyed do not report health problems because of fear they will be seen as “time wasters”, while a similar number (47.2%) do not want to come across as hypochondriacs.

And one in 10 said they would prefer not to know if they have a serious health problem.

Dr Ian Watson, a GP from Oldham, said: “It is worrying to think that people in their 60s might be hesitant to come and see me for fear of wasting my time or being judged as hypochondriacs. That is far from the case.”

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