Story sponsored by Terry White Chemmart Hamilton.
As men, we're often taught from a young age to not take things too seriously. If we're hurt, just dust yourself off. She'll be right.
So, is it any wonder men tend to avoid or delay regular health checks? Is it any wonder that their health is often poorer than that of their female partners or women of the same age.
While you can't turn back the clock, it is possible to improve your health. All it takes is some simple adjustments to your lifestyle.
Small things like changes to your diet and regular exercise can make a difference. However, the first - and most important thing to do - is to have a health check!
Like a car engine, your body needs to be looked after. Here are some health issues that are particularly relevant to men:
Bowel cancer - More in common in men than women, the risk increases over the age of 50 years. Home test kits are provided by the Government National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and are available from your pharmacy.
Depression - Depression affects about one in eight Australian men. Men are more likely to suicide than women. They are also more likely to describe the physical symptoms of depression but they are less likely seek help.
Erectile dysfunction - Also called ED or impotence, means being unable to get and/or keep an erection that allows sexual intercourse. ED is common but most men do like to talk about it even with their doctor. It is important to know some medical conditions can lead to ED - diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, Parkinson's disease. So too can drinking too much alcohol, smoking, stress and some medicines.
Heart disease - Men are more likely to die from heart disease than women. Risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and being overweight.
Low testosterone - Testosterone is a male sex hormone. Low levels can be caused by disorders of the testes or pituitary gland as well as other health problems like obesity. Testosterone levels fall as men age and the symptoms of low testosterone can include being tired, feeling irritable and having less sex drive.
Male pattern hair loss - AKA baldness. This naturally occurring condition can cause some men great distress.
Prostate disease - This is more common in older men. The three main problems are:
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia/hypertrophy - BPH the prostate gland gets bigger and in turn causes problems with urine flow;
- Prostate cancer - Prostate cancer develops when abnormal cells in the prostate gland grow more quickly than in a normal prostate, forming a malignant tumour. It is the second most common cancer diagnosed in men in Australia and the third most common cause of cancer death. One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer by the age of 85;
- Prostatitis - the prostate becomes sore and swollen and this is usually due to infection.
Testicular cancer - Testicular cancer is more common in younger men but it can also occur at any age. It may cause a hard lump, swelling or pain in a testicle.
A number of health issues are more common in men than women. This may be due to the way men deal with health and lifestyle issues.
So when you have a health checks here are some tests you ask your doctor or pharmacist about (they're here to help):
Bowel cancer - Bowel cancer screening kit or a colonoscopy.
Blood pressure - Have blood pressure check regularly with your pharmacist or doctor.
Cholesterol - Ask about regular blood test for cholesterol.
Prostate disease - Ask your doctor about checks for prostate problems - PSA test or an examination.
Testosterone - A blood test can check hormone levels.
Testicular cancer - Regular monthly self care check for hard lumps, swelling or changes.
As well as getting your health checked, here are some lifestyle issues you need to consider...
Alcohol - More men than women drink harmful amounts of alcohol, which can increase the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stoke, depression and sexual problems. So, limit alcohol to no more than two standard drinks in one day.
Being overweight - Do you know your BMI? Body fat percentage? Visceral fat? Now, around two in three Australians are either overweight or obese. Men are more likely to be overweight than women, which increases their risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, stroke, diabetes osteoarthritis and some cancers.
Lose some weight - Products like The Man Shake can help you get started and stay on track with healthier eating. This includes regular meals, healthy snacks, drink enough water to satisfy your thirst, getting some moderate exercise most days and learning to use relaxation techniques to help reduce stress.
Smoking - More men than women smoke. More men die from smoking-related illness. So talk to your doctor or pharmacist about quit smoking techniques and therapies.
Talk to someone you trust - Be it a friend, relative or a health professional (like your doctor or pharmacist) we need to increase awareness around men's health by being prepared to have the conversation.
Story sponsored by Terry White Chemmart Hamilton.