Did you know that, according to statistics, women are 20% more likely to visit their GP than men? As a result of this, they are living an average of 3.7 years longer. We can probably all agree that men have something of a tendency to shy away from discussing their personal health problems, and often avoid talking to a doctor when necessary.
So, whether you have male health concerns or know someone who does, we want to help you stay happy and healthy. Here are five common and important male health concerns to look out for and what you can do about them.
Take time to talk
Mental health, and particularly anxiety and depression, has for a long time been something of a taboo subject among men. It’s also fair to say that men can be a little uncomfortable and reserved when it comes to discussing their personal troubles and concerns with others. This has resulted in the alarming statistic that suicide is currently the biggest killer of men under the age of 45.
It’s nothing to feel ashamed of and talking to friends and those close to you can provide a great sense of relief. The worst thing you can do is to isolate yourself. Get out and socialise, surround yourself with positive people and positive energy. Most importantly though, if are suffering from depression or anxiety, speak to your GP and get the help you need.
Know that there aren’t always symptoms
The most common form of cancer found in men, prostate cancer is a common disease but treatable if discovered in its early stages. The most concerning aspect of prostate cancer is that it can often show no symptoms at all until it has already spread to other parts of the body.
You must talk to your doctor about getting a prostate test once you reach the age of 50. Men are also more at risk if the disease has a history in their family. If this applies to you, it is recommended that you get a screening at 45. Prostate cancer will affect 1 in 8 men in the UK at some point in their lives, but survival rates are better than 98% when it has been detected early.
The most common cancer in men aged 25-49, testicular cancer is highly treatable and often curable if found in its early stages of development. That being said, the disease can still be fatal, claiming around 60 deaths a year in the UK, and it’s important for all men to regularly check themselves for signs of unusual or painful lumps and swelling.
If you believe you have detected something untoward, contact your GP straight away for an examination.
Look after your heart
Coronary heart disease (CHD) kills 1 in 6 men in the UK. Generally affecting men more than women (although the risk of developing the condition are equal from the age of 50), the most common symptoms include heart attacks, heart failure, and angina (chest pain). The disease can also manifest other symptoms, including erection problems, whilst some people may not show any before it has been diagnosed.
About the size of your fist, the heart is a powerful muscle that pumps blood around your body, beating approximately 70 times a minute. CHD is a result of the heart’s blood supply becoming blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries.
The best way to prevent CHD is to maintain an active lifestyle and a healthy diet. Get out there, get active, and stay fit and healthy! People who smoke, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, are at the highest risk of getting CHD.
Your doctor can carry out a risk assessment for heart disease. If there is a history of CHD in your family or you fall into any of the high-risk categories mentioned above, it is important that you take active steps now to lead a healthier lifestyle and seek advice from your doctor.
Get out there!
It’s been suggested that one of the main reasons that men fail to make an appointment with their doctor is due to a reluctance to take time off work. It’s crucial that you get the balancing act right between your work and downtime. Find time to relax, pull yourself away from your computer and be proactive both with your fitness and social life. This will greatly benefit your mental and physical health.
If the idea of a health overhaul sounds a little daunting at first, start with the basics. Why not cycle to work? Adding an element of exercise to your daily routine can go a long way. Try easing back on alcohol if it plays a noticeable role in your diet.
Perhaps have a go at getting creative in the kitchen instead of opting for that greasy takeaway. Think more about what you are putting into your body and you’ll be able to get more out of it in the long run.