Do men in Newcastle look after their own health very well?
Men tend to avoid or delay regular health checks and their own health is often poorer than their partners or women of the same age.
Men can improve their health with changes to diet, exercise and other lifestyle improvements but first it is important to have a health check.
Health issues relevant to men
Bowel cancer: More in common in men than women and the risk increases over the age of 50 years. Home test kits are provided by the Government National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and from your pharmacy.
Depression: Depression affects about one in eight men in Australia, and men are more likely to suicide than women. Men are more likely then women to describe the physical symptoms of depression but they are less likely to 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 don't 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, drinking to much alcohol, smoking, stress and some medicines can also be a cause of ED.
Heart disease: Men are more likely to die from heart disease than women and the risk factors for heart disease - which include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and being overweight - are more common in men.
Low testosterone: Testosterone is a male sex hormone and low levels can be caused by disorders of the testes or pituitary gland, and 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: Baldness, this can cause some men great distress.
Prostate disease: This is more common in older men and 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
- prostatitis - the prostate becomes sore and swollen and this is usually due to infection
Testicular cancer: More common in younger men, but can occur at any age. This may cause a hard lump, swelling or pain in a testicle.
Things to do
Self Care: Have regular checks and tests - ask your doctor or pharmacist, they are here to help.
Bowel cancer: Bowel cancer screening kit or a colonoscopy
Blood pressure: Have checks regularly with your pharmacist or doctor
Cholesterol: Ask about regular blood test
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.
Lifestyle issues to consider...
Alcohol: More men then women drink harmful amounts of alcohol which can increase the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, depression and sexual problems. So limit alcohol to no more than two standard drinks in one day.
Being overweight: Around two in three Australians are either overweight or obese and 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 including regular meals, healthy snacks, drink enough water to satisfy your thirst, get some moderate exercise most days and learn to use relaxation techniques to help reduce stress.
Smoking: More men than women smoke and 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: A friend, relative or a health professional like your doctor or pharmacist.
Terry White Chemmart Hamilton offers a "Man Check". For details visit www.terrywhitechemmart.com.au.