International Men’s Health Week 2016 begins on Monday 13th June and lasts until Sunday 19th June 2016 (which of course if Father’s Day!). So, it is the perfect opportunity to highlight that on average, men go to their GP half as often as women. It is very important for males to be aware of their mental and physical health and get professional advice if they are concerned. Some particularly common male health issues include:
This year, one in four of employees will develop a mental health problem. That is odds of 3 to 1. Or about the same as France or Germany winning the Euro 2016 football. In other words, it’s likely to happen sooner or later if we let stress build.
Depression is an illness which can affect all aspects of your life and although it is diagnosed more in women, there is a far higher suicide rate in males, possibly because men are less likely to seek help. Relationship breakdown and unemployment are the 2 main causes of depression in men, but financial stress, job insecurity, redundancy and debt can also affect your mental wellbeing. And it is not a sign of weakness; it has affected many famous and successful men.
If you’re depressed, you may lose interest in things you used to enjoy, or feel persistently low. It might also alter your sleeping and eating habits and affect your concentration. Exercise has been shown to have a positive effect on mental wellbeing, but if this doesn’t improve your wellbeing, contact your GP who may recommend self-help, talking therapies or antidepressant medication.
Coronary Heart Disease
Coronary heart disease (CHD) and heart attacks are more common in men than women; there are over 1.6 million men with CHD and over 60,000 have a heart attack each year. Keep your heart healthy by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Also, get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked, especially if you have a family history of either.
It is important to be aware of your mental and physical health so that you are able to recognise changes if and when they occur and seek professional advice. These are some of the things you can be regularly aware of:
Only males have a prostate gland, which is a small, but essential organ that lies underneath the bladder, and surrounds the urethra that urine and semen is passed through. When it is enlarged, it can cause problems urinating as it can press on the tube that carries urine from the bladder.
Regular self-examination is recommended to check for painless lumps or swellings in the testicle, which may be an indication of testicular cancer. Other symptoms to be aware of are aches and discomfort in your testicles, scrotum, groin or lower abdomen, or feeling tired and unwell.
Check your moles regularly and be aware of any change in colour or shape, or if they start bleeding. Most changes are harmless and are due to a non-cancerous increase of pigment cells in the skin, however, it’s advisable to get them checked if you are concerned.
- Reduce alcohol intake to the recommended maximum 21 units per week
- Stop smoking
- Participate in regular aerobic exercise and eat a healthy diet
- Check your testicles and moles regularly and seek out professional advice if you notice any changes to these or your urination
- Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB
- Talk to your GP or someone close if you are experiencing an extended period of feeling down
- If you notice any changes in what is ‘normal’ for you, visit your GP as soon as possible
Further reading for men’s health issues: