Men it’s time to get on top of your healthThursday, 31 May 2018
A survey by Macmillan Cancer Support found that almost half of men would feel discouraged from talking about changes to their health such as a lump, a suspicious mole or pain, in case they were perceived as ‘making a fuss’. The survey also found that over 38% have been ‘kept awake at night’ in the last year because of health worries, and 11% of men who’ve noticed changes to their health have put off seeing a doctor because they are frightened that their symptoms might be a sign of a serious health condition.
Although fear and embarrassment are understandable, the earlier you talk to a doctor about a strange symptom, the quicker it can get resolved.
Throughout life men are more vulnerable to various disorders from heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease, adult onset hearing loss, blood and lymph cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer and mental health issues. And their life expectancy remains five years less than women’s. Given all these factors, it’s vital to encourage men to be proactive in their health.
It’s not just physical health – it is about emotional health too. On average, one in eight men will experience depression and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage in their lives. With men being less likely to reach out to friends, family or health professionals, the risk of anxiety and depression deepens. Alarmingly, men make up an average six out of every eight suicides each day in Australia.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Here’s some simple steps to get on top of your health:
Get some sleep
Men who sleep seven to eight hours a night have about 60 per cent less risk of a fatal heart attack than those who sleep five hours or less.
Getting in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise daily, is arguably the most important thing you can do to reduce the risk of or help to manage virtually all chronic diseases, simultaneously. Being physically active is helpful for both mental and physical states, with inactive men being 60 per cent more likely to suffer from depression than those who are active.
Leading a sedentary lifestyle has been proven to have significant negative impacts on your health. Break up periods of sitting during the day and try not to sit for longer than 60 minutes at a time.
Get your prostate checked
Prostate cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers in men, but mention a prostate exam and most men will shudder at the thought. The reality is though, if detected early enough, it can be successfully treated.
Measure your waist
If your waist is between 102cm and 110cm you are at a medium risk of developing a chronic disease. A measurement over 110 means you are at a high risk. Talk to an exercise physiologist, dietitian or your GP to find ways to decrease your waist size.
If you are between 45 to 49 years book into a Medicare health check.
Talk to your friends – it could change their lives.
John, a cabbie from Newcastle, recently told us how encouraging his friend to get onto his annual cycle of care checks could have saved his friend’s life. When John’s annual cycle of care checks were due, he encouraged his friend George to get his done at the same time. George’s blood test showed elevated levels of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), prompting further checks. A specialist confirmed prostate cancer, but due to the early detection, George was able to be treated successfully and is now cancer-free.
For more information contact:
Cancer Foundation of Australia or visit www.prostate.org.au
Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36 or visit www.beyondblue.org.au
Your State or Territory diabetes organisation on 1800 637 700
*This article was updated on 16 April 2021.