“Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.”
The statistics on men’s health make for sobering reading. On average, men’s lives are shorter than women’s, and their last 11 years will be spent in ill health – often from preventable ailments. Compared to women, they are also more likely to die due to unintentional injury or suicide. Men take their own lives at four times the rate of women (that’s five men a day, on average).
What’s behind these figures? One theory is that men are more reluctant to visit the doctor – and are also less likely to be honest when they do – because of cultural ideas around masculinity, strength, resilience, and self-reliance. When we think about common phrases like “man up”, it’s easy to understand how this may be the case.
But let’s face it – there is nothing manly about avoiding the doctor.
Men’s Health Week (June 15 – 21) is an initiative with an aim to change the conversation around men’s health and improve outcomes for men. And when men improve their health, the lives of their families improve too.
What are the risks and what can men do to protect their health?
Many of the major health risks that men face can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle. No matter your age, the basic advice remains the same– eat well, stay active, don’t smoke and watch the grog.
Additionally, regular health check-ups and health screenings are highly encouraged to protect your overall health. Here is a great resource with information on the general health tips and check-ups you should focus on at the different stages of your life.
Pay attention to your own body
Regular things you can check at home include:
- Skin: If you spot anything unusual, you know what to do. As soon as possible.
- Teeth: Keep them clean, limit the amount of sugar in your diet and see your dentist at least once a year.
- Testicles: From puberty onwards, guys should be checking themselves for unusual thickenings or lumps.
- Mental: How is your headspace? Are you feeling down, anxious, exhausted, overwhelmed?
Ask your doctor which tests you need and when
There are a number of illnesses and serious conditions that are common as men age. When you see your doctor, they’ll be able to talk you through your risk factors, and when to have certain tests. These are some of the tests you can discuss:
- Heart health checks. These can include blood pressure, blood and obesity tests, as well as electrocardiograms (ECG) to detect heart abnormalities.
- Diabetes checks
- Prostate cancer screening
- Bowel cancer screening. Up to 90 percent of bowel cancers can be treated successfully if they’re detected early. The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP)sends you a free kit in the mail if you’re between 50 and 74 years old, but if you have a family history your doctor may suggest testing even earlier than that.
- Eye tests. This can include checking for serious conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.
- Bone density checks. Because osteoporosis doesn’t only affect women.
- Dental checks. Do you notice any pain, build up, sharp edges or stains/marks?
Reach out for help
At Family Doctors Plus our focus is on empowering you to optimise your health and wellbeing. We focus not only treating disease but on early detection, prevention and helping you live as well and as healthily as possible. We offer a comprehensive health assessment for men and women of all ages to identify areas of risk and create a management plan tailored to your needs.
To book in, please call us on 07 3357 8192 or book online through our website.