MEN’S HEALTH MONTH

10/06/2022

Attention all men! The jury is out, the stats are in, and all votes have been counted.

Your health is your responsibility.

It’s a fact that men often die younger than their female counterparts. On average, men die five years earlier than their partners.

The leading cause of death for men all over the world is cardiovascular disease and stroke.

These are two diseases that can often be managed by making lifestyle adjustments and getting regular check-ups from your doctor.

Other health risks that are particularly problematic for men include testicular and prostate cancers which are often only diagnosed at a late stage due to the average man’s unwillingness to visit their health care providers regularly.

This phenomenon is discussed in a WebMD article, titled: “Why are men less likely to see a doctor”.

A study that was done in April 2021 and published in shows that, of a surveyed 1000 men, aged 18 years and older, almost half (45%) had not visited a family doctor or general practitioner for an annual wellness visit or check-up.

“Even more concerning, three-quarters had not gone to the doctor even if they had symptoms of a specific illness, 84% had not consulted a doctor about an injury, and over half (54%) had not gone to a dentist for a routine dental exam.”

The reason for this, according to the article is simple. Seeking help causes many men to feel less manly.

This is problematic, seeing as early detection of disease can aid in successful treatment and cure, which would greatly improve male life expectancy.

If not for yourself, then do it for your partner.

The fact is that many men who die before their partners, leave them in a worse state financially. Unless you have planned extensively in the form of life insurance and kept up to date with the payments, chances are that your widow will be left to shoulder the brunt of the financial burden after your death.

Where men die before 65 this can be even worse, as not only are the widows now the main breadwinner, but also single parents.

Dealing with the stresses of single parenthood as well as the immense grief of losing a partner is extremely difficult.

For more information on the financial struggles often faced by widows, click below.

THERE’S NOTHING EMASCULATING ABOUT CHOOSING TO STAY HEALTHY.

Apart from the obvious, which is to ensure sufficient financial planning for your family, one of the easiest ways to ensure that you do not leave your family in financial dire straits is to ensure that you do not leave your family at all. (At least for as long as possible.)

Ensuring that you have a good relationship with a medical professional who knows your medical history can make this journey easier. These are the most useful and commonly available health screening tests for men.

• HIV test (Blood sample)

When? Every six months if you are practicing unsafe sex

• Blood pressure

When? Every two years when you are in your 20s and 30s, and once a year after that.

• Cholesterol

When? Every two years if there you are in your 20s or 30s and there is a family history of heart disease. If you are in your 40s or older: every time you go for a check-up.

• Type 2 diabetes

When? Every three years, regardless of age, if you are at risk.

• Prostate

When? If you are in your 40s, once a once a year if you have a family history of prostate cancer or breast cancer, or if you are black. Once a year if you are 50 years or older.

• Testicular self-exam

When? Monthly, especially if you have undescended testes, previous history of a testicular tumour, brother or father with testicular tumours or if you are infertile.

• Colon check

When? If there is no family history of colon cancer, you should have your first colonoscopy at age 50. If there is a family history, make that age 40. Then a colonoscopy every 5 – 10 years, depending on your degree of risk.

• Skin check

When? Every year from the age of 40. Golfers, cricketers, farmers, fishermen and others spending a lot of time in the sun, are at high risk.

• Eye test

When? If in your twenties or thirties, every five years. Once every two years when you are in your 40s, and annually from 50 onwards.

This list was shortened for purposes of this blog. The original was compiled by Susan Erasmus for Health24 and can be found at the link below along with more in-depth information about each health screen.

Men’s Health Month is celebrated in June. For more information about this as well as the Wear Blue campaign, click on the link below.