To encourage men to take their health more seriously we’re discussing some general men’s health tips to help maintain your health and wellbeing.

Men often aren’t very good when it comes to looking after their own health. In fact, in the UK men see their GP 20% less frequently than women, according to men’s health charity, Men’s Health Forum (MHF), and will often put off seeing a doctor until they are in considerable pain or are convinced they have a serious problem, by which time their condition may have deteriorated unnecessarily. As many as one in five men die before they reach 65 in the UK, 75% of premature deaths from coronary heart disease are men, and they have a 37% higher risk of dying from cancer compared to women.1 So how can men get better at looking after their own health?

Know your history

How well do you know your family history when it comes to health conditions such as prostate and testicular cancer? Whilst the statistics above may seem disturbing, there are ways to be proactive, such as knowing the risk factors. These include: having previously had testicular or prostate cancer, being of a certain ethnicity, being overweight, your age, and having a family history of the disease – for example, the Movember Foundation states that a man with a father or brother who has developed prostate cancer is twice as likely to develop the disease themselves.

What to look out for

Knowing your own body is a good way to recognise illnesses and diseases sooner rather than later, so it’s useful to conduct regular examinations and understand what to look out for when it comes to testicular and prostate cancer. Here are some of the signs and symptoms you should look out for:

Prostate Cancer
Increased frequency of urination
Pain when urinating
Blood in urine
Aches or stiffness in the lower body especially thighs, lower back and hips

Testicular Cancer
Lump or swelling in one or both testicles
Aches and/or pains in the groin or lower abdomen
Tender or enlarged breast tissue
Change in the size/shape of one or both testicles

Not everyone gets symptoms, but if you’re experiencing any of these, and are concerned, then please book an appointment with your GP as soon as possible.

It’s good to talk

Men tend to keep things ‘bottled up’ inside, or express their feelings in different ways such as through anger; but with nearly three quarters of people who commit suicide being male, this makes it the biggest cause of death for men under 352, so it’s critical to take care of your mental health.

Look after your mental wellbeing by getting plenty of sleep, eating healthily and staying physically active. It’s also important to take time to talk about the stresses and strains of everyday life. Talking about the way you feel with someone you trust, such as a friend or family member can really help to relieve the burden, and they can give advice or another perspective, according to mental health charity, Mind.

Get active

It has been predicted that by 2025, only 13% of men in the UK will have a healthy body mass index.3 So get healthy by doing more physical activity; it can be as simple as:

  • Cycling to work instead of driving (beats getting stuck in rush hour traffic!)
  • Getting off the bus a few stops earlier and walking the rest of the way to your destination
  • Going for a walk on your lunch break
  • Taking the family out for a walk in the countryside
  • Get involved in a team activity such as a running club, or outdoor fitness club
  • Get a group of friends together and play football in the park, or join a local 5-a-side football team

The options are endless and don’t necessarily involve a lot of time or expense. The important thing is to ensure you’re doing at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week to stay fit and healthy, as recommended by the NHS.

Be proactive

We appreciate that having a busy schedule may make having regular check-ups difficult, but you can’t afford to be passive about your health. Take a proactive approach, learn about your family history and conduct frequent self-examinations, as well as having a regular general check-up at your GP.

To find out more about Sovereign Health Care, click here.

1Mens Health Forum Manifesto 2014
Office for National Statistics – Suicides in the UK Report 2012
3NHS Faculty for Public Health Report

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