You and Your Health: Men’s Health

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We men can all be a little guilty of complaining about the likes of Man Flu, but putting on hold more serious health problems, often too shy or embarrassed to talk about them. It’ll be alright – we’ve all said it.

To coincide with Father’s Day, Men’s Health Week is dedicated to helping promote mental health and well-being in males.

Figures for pre-retirement deaths in males are staggering, with one in five men likely to die before the age of 65. By following a healthy lifestyle and reducing stress, as well as taking your health problems seriously, you can help bring down these frightening statistics and put some man power back into your life.

Be it problems of pressure at work, uncertainty about future employment and pensions, or general family life, stress can creep up on us and it may feel like you don’t know where to turn. If you are feeling depressed, it is important that you see your GP as clinical depression should never be ignored and needs correct treatment, either medication or counselling, or both.

British workers spend the longest hours at work each week compared with other parts of Europe. Work stresses can cause poor physical health through unhappiness, worry and insomnia. Long hours at work also leave little time for relaxation and some form of exercise is really vital.

Playing sport, running, walking or going to the gym, as well as spending quality time with your friends and family, can lift your mood and improve your fitness. Join the lads for five-a-side or find a gym partner to keep you motivated.

Men don’t tend to take much notice of their bodies. Well, most parts.

Examine your testicles for any lumps or abnormalities and visit your doctor if you are worried. Testicular cancer is most common in young men aged between 20 and 35, but has a good outcome if treated early.

About 30,000 men develop prostate cancer each year. The prostate is a small gland located near the bladder which produces a fluid that is vital for the formation of semen. It is common for the prostate to enlarge, particularly in men over 50. Usually, this causes no problems but it may press on the tubes of the bladder and interfere with urination.

Symptoms are difficulty in urinating, frequent night visits to the toilet and pain in that region. This condition is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) – it is not cancerous and can be readily treated. These symptoms may also be present in prostate cancer, along with blood in the urine. As this cancer is slow growing for a lot of men, there are no symptoms but it is vital that problems are checked.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence is very common at some time between 40 and 70 and shouldn’t be bypassed as it may have a physical or psychological cause.

If an erection occurs for instance, on waking, but not when required when you are with your partner, it may be due to stress, anxiety, depression or relationship problems. In these cases, your doctor may recommend counselling or a supply of prescription medication specific to this condition.

Physical causes include injury, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or hormonal problems. Certain medicines, for example drugs to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart problems and depression may play a part in ED; again, ask your doctor or pharmacist to help you. But medication should not be stopped without advice.

Alcohol, tiredness, smoking, taking illegal drugs such as cannabis, obesity and being unfit may all be to blame and here, self-help can be tried, apart from excessive cycling.

Keep an eye on any new moles you may have spotted for changes in shape, size and colour. Cancerous moles respond well to early treatment but, although more common on people who have a lot of sun exposure, they may occur at any age.

Living healthily by eating and drinking sensibility, by trying to avoid stress, taking exercise and not getting over-tired are goals everyone should aim for to live a healthy life.

Don’t brush your worries under the carpet. I am available to answer any of your questions at Goodmeasure Pharmacy.

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