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Seven important men's health checks

Mens Health Checks

Men are notorious for ducking regular doctor appointments and for skipping important health checks. Did you know that men between the ages of 15-75+ only account for 36.6% of GP visits? While women in the same age range account for 51.1% of visits to the doctor[i]? If you haven’t been in a while and are wondering which health checks you should be having, this one’s for you …

1. Mind and mood

Nearly one in two Australians (45 per cent) will be affected by a mental health condition at some stage [ii] and around one in eight men are likely to be affected at some time in their life [iii]. Yet, compared with women, men are much less likely to seek help for mental illness – the majority, 72 per cent, don’t get help when they need it[ iv]. Affected men are also twice as likely as women to resort to damaging coping behaviours, like drug and alcohol use. Male depression is also a high risk factor for suicide; men account for the majority (78 per cent) of all suicides.[v]

Get it sorted …

No one needs to tough it out. If you notice a period of two weeks or more in which you feel irritable, sad, worried, on edge, or you stop taking an interest in the pleasures of life, speak to your GP.

For more information visit blackdoginstitute.org.au or call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.

2. High blood pressure

It affects a third of Australian men[vi] and high blood pressure raises the risk of serious conditions like stroke, heart disease and kidney problems. These conditions arise due to the heart working much harder than it should to pump blood.

Hands around heart

Get it sorted …

There are no symptoms associated with high blood pressure. But thankfully, a quick, simple blood pressure check by your doctor or health practice nurse can give you your reading. And if it’s high (140/90 or more), there are things you can do to bring it back down to help prevent serious health problems in the future.

Your doctor may prescribe medication, or recommend reducing your alcohol consumption, increasing your exercise or changing your diet. Opting for fresh produce over manufactured food can help to normalise your blood pressure.

For more information visit heartfoundation.org.au.

3. Check your skin

Melanoma (skin cancer) is the third most common cancer in Australia[vii]. And though both men and women are affected by skin cancer, the death rate is much higher in men because they tend to seek help later[viii].

Get it sorted …

Check your skin regularly; look for colour and texture changes in existing moles or the development of new moles. And, speak with your GP who will know what to look for, what to treat immediately and when or if you need to be referred to a specialist.

For more information visit cancer.org.au.

4. Count your cholesterol

Over 30 per cent of men over 18 have high cholesterol[ix] – a major risk factor for heart disease. Like high blood pressure, there are no symptoms, so regular GP checks are essential, especially if you have a family history of heart disease, are over 40 or are overweight.

Get it sorted …

A simple blood test can detect the ratio of LDL cholesterol (harmful) to HDL cholesterol (good) and triglycerides (other harmful fats) in your blood. Your GP may suggest medication and a few simple tricks to help lower your blood cholesterol such as eating more veggies, fruits and legumes, eating oily fish at least twice a week and cutting down on sugary treats, high fat eats and alcohol.

For more information visit heartfoundation.org.au.

Lose weight written on a chalkboard next to a kiwi an inches

5.Do you measure up?

Going Dry
Going Dry

Over 40 per cent of men aged 18 or over are overweight – approximately 1.5 times the rate of women [x]. Being overweight can raise the risk of chronic (long-term) conditions such as heart disease, metabolic disease, diabetes and some cancers[xi].

Get it sorted …

Measuring your waist circumference can indicate whether you need to lose a few kilos. If the tape measure shows that your waist is over 94cm (or more than 90cm if you’re a male of south Asian origin[xii]) you’re at increased risk of serious conditions.

For more information visit shapeup.gov.au.

6. Don’t ignore diabetes

Diabetes is more common in men than women [xiii] and the risk increases if you’re overweight, have high blood pressure or if you have a family history of the condition.

Get it sorted …

Be on the look out for constant thirst, frequent urination, recurring infections and tiredness (although not everyone has these symptoms). To find out, your GP can perform a blood glucose test.

For more information visit diabetesaustralia.com.au.

7. Prostate cancer

Prsotate CancerProstate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia and represents 30% of all male cancers[xiv]. There are approximately 20,000 cases of prostate cancer diagnosed in Australia every year[xv].

Get it sorted …

It’s important to balance the potential benefit of detecting prostate cancer early against the risk. Discuss the pros and cons of testing with your doctor.

For more information visit prostate.org.au.

Your GP is a great place to start for more information on any of these tests. They can also offer many medical health checks in one appointment – great if lack of time is your excuse of choice. If you know a man who could do with a little encouragement to get his health tested, do what you can to get him there. You could be helping to change a life for the better.

This health information is brought to you by the health and well being team at rt health fund.
 

[i] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. General practice activity in Australia 2009–10. http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=6442472722

[ii] Beyondblue. The facts about depression and anxiety. https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts

[iii]Beyondblue. Depression in men. https://www.beyondblue.org.au/resources/for-me/men/depression-in-men

[iv]Black Dog Institute. Facts and figures about mental health and mood disorders. http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/docs/Factsandfiguresaboutmentalhealthandmooddisorders.pdf

[v]Better Health Channel. Men’s health. http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Men’s_health?open

[vi]Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. High blood pressure. http://www.aihw.gov.au/high-blood-pressure/

[vii] Melanoma Institute Australia. Melanoma facts and statistics. http://www.melanoma.org.au/understanding-melanoma/melanoma-facts-and-statistics/

[viii]Cancer Council Western Australia. Cancer statistics. https://www.cancerwa.asn.au/resources/statistics/

[ix] Heart Foundation. Factsheet – High cholesterol statistics. http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/Factsheet-High-cholesterol.pdf

[x]Heart Foundation. Factsheet – Overweight and obesity statistics. http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/Factsheet-Overweight-and-obesity.pdf

[xi]Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Overweight and obesity. http://www.aihw.gov.au/overweight-and-obesity/

[xii] NHS Choices. Why body shape matters for south Asian people. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/SouthAsianhealth/Pages/Waistmatters.aspx

[xiii]Diabetes Victoria. Diabetes FAQs. http://www.diabetesvic.org.au/guide-to-diabetes/diabetes-faqs

[xiv]Cancer Council Australia. Prostate cancer. http://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/types-of-cancer/prostate-cancer.html

[xv]Movember Foundation. Men’s Health. https://au.movember.com/mens-health/prostate-cancer

This blog was posted in health checks, men's health and tagged in blood, cancer, cholesterol, depression, diabetes, father's day, health, high, melanoma, men's, obesity, pressure, prostate

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