In aid of Men's Health Week, we wanted to get involved by sharing our knowledge on some of the top health issues facing men in the UK and around the world.
Whether it be your physical or emotional well-being, men's health is something to be taken seriously.
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men in the UK and 40,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. Most cases are diagnosed in men over the age of 50 and those who have a first degree relative who has been diagnosed (brother or father, for example) are at a higher risk.
Symptoms of prostate cancer can develop very slowly and it is often only really evident after a number of years. The symptoms include:
- Difficulty urinating
- Needing to urinate frequently, especially at night
- An urgent need to go to the toilet
- Feeling that your bladder is not completely empty after going to the toilet
- Pain, numbness or swelling in the legs, hips or feet
Prostate cancer is an easily treatable condition, and many men don’t require treatment at all. Instead, your doctor will closely monitor your symptoms to ensure that it doesn’t spread or get worse. About 1 in 5 men have fast-growing prostate cancer meaning it is likely to spread and require treatment.
Age and family history are the most likely causes of prostate cancer. However, like any cancer, diet and exercise can also affect prostate cancer risk.
If you’re worried about developing prostate cancer, take a look at our article, How to cut your cancer risk.
Heart disease is responsible for 160,000 deaths in the UK every year, and affects around 1 in 6 men. Heart disease has a number of causes, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Luckily, there are a number of lifestyle changes men (and women) can make to dramatically lower their risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD) and related issues:
- Lower blood pressure – there are many easy steps you can take to make this happen. Consider calming activities, such as Tai Chi and Pilates to eliminate stress, limiting your salt intake and giving up smoking.
- Take responsibility for other health issues – issues such as diabetes can more than double your chances of developing CHD if left unmanaged. This is because the lining of the blood vessels in people with diabetes often thickens causing restricted blood flow around the body. Be sure that any existing conditions are monitored closely and voice any concerns with your doctor.
- Lower cholesterol intake – high levels of ‘bad cholesterol’ or low density lipoproteins (LDLs) can lead to fatty build ups in the blood vessels meaning that blood flow can be restricted to the heart and brain.
For more information on lowering your risk of CHD, you might be interested in our article, Preventing common health issues for over 50s: heart disease and stroke.
Suicide and Depression
Unfortunately, on a global scale, one man commits suicide every minute and 3 out of 4 of all suicides are men. Most of these suicides stem from existing mental health conditions, like depression.
Some signs and symptoms of depression include:
- A general feeling of unhappiness, hopelessness or pessimism that won’t go away
- Poor concentration
- Unexplained weight loss or a loss of appetite
- Feeling worried or irritable
- Losing interest in your appearance and personal hygiene
If you’re struggling with these symptoms, it’s important to talk to a doctor or counsellor about them instead of ignoring them or trying to get rid of them on your own.