Australian men are more likely than Australian women to get sick from serious health problems. Their death rate is also much higher. The top 10 causes of premature death in men include: ischaemic (angina, blocked heart arteries) heart disease, trachea and lung cancer, stroke, respiratory diseases, prostate cancer, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, colon and rectum cancer, blood and lymph cancer, diabetes, and suicide. Also, one out of every 6 men suffers from depression at any given time, and male depression is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The good news – and it is very good news – is that almost ¾ of deaths below the age of 75 are preventable. Many of the causes of premature death are lifestyle related and can either be prevented or their likelihood can be significantly reduced by having an individual maintain a proper body weight and adopt healthier food and exercise regimes.
Of course for men to achieve these benefits they must take responsibility for their own health and for their own visits to their doctors for regular check-ups. In the past, compared to women, men have traditionally visited the doctor less frequently, had shorter visits, and have waited until their illness was in its later stages before attending. Men must put aside any sensitivities or perceptions they associate with seeing a doctor and they must take greater control of their own health.
Here is a list of good health recommendations for responsible men:
- Start slowly, warm up and cool down after each session
- For flexibility benefits stretch for 10 mins each day
- For cardiovascular benefits jog, ride or swim for 20 mins 3 times per week
- For muscular endurance lift light weights for 30 mins 3 times per week
2. Healthy Eating at Work
- Drink 8 glasses of water each day; replace soft drinks with fruit juices
- Never skip lunch
- Include raw fruits and vegetables at lunch
- Eat slowly, skip second helpings
- You reach your maximum blood alcohol content 45-90 mins after consuming your drink
- Alternate alcoholic with non-alcoholic drinks
- Limit of 2-3 drinks per day
- Avoid mixing medications and alcohol
4. Stress Management
- Manage your stress-related emotions with exercise, abdominal breathing, mindfulness time-outs, stretching, yoga, and calming music
- Manage your stress-related thoughts by viewing the stressor as a challenge and not a threat, reminding yourself of the payoff, and asking yourself “How can I benefit from this event?”
5. Schedule of Health Checks. These figures are only meant as a guide. Please check with your own physician.
- Dental: check-up 1-2 times per year
- Blood pressure: check-up 2 times per year aged 50+
- Prostate cancer: check-up 1 time per year aged 50+; PSA blood test, Digital Rectal Exam
- Skin cancer: self-exam for moles, colour changes, itchiness; anything suspicious see doctor
- Testicular cancer: self-exam for lumps, thickening; anything suspicious see doctor
- Bowel cancer: check-up 1 time every 2 years aged 50+; faecal occult blood test