Calling All Real Men – Look out for These Real Health Problems
Being a man doesn’t in any way exclude you from being vulnerable. It even makes you a target of some gender specific diseases. The important thing is to watch out for them and take the necessary steps to ensure you maintain good health.
Melanoma. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of this form of skin cancer. In New Zealand, approximately 2,000 cases are diagnosed every year. It’s the most aggressive form of skin cancer there is. In addition, it’s also the most commonly registered type of cancer in men aged 25 to 44 years old. Any changes in an existing mole or the appearance of a rapidly enlarging mole should prompt you to consult with your healthcare practitioner.
Prostate enlargement and prostate cancer. A gender specific problem for men getting older. It’s quite rare below 50 years of age and peaks around 65 years of age. If you have difficulty urinating or any pain or discomfort when you pee, better have it checked out. You will be happier if these are just caused prostate enlargement, not prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in New Zealand and third in Australia. Every year, approximately 3,000 New Zealanders are diagnosed. Ask your doctor about periodic digital rectal examinations and PSA testing as screening tools for prostate concerns.
The latest research on prostate cancer tells us that a new form of therapy called BAT (Bipolar Androgen Therapy) may be promising against prostate cancer when its resistant to castration. Yes, castration is a form of treatment used for prostate cancer.
Fatty liver. A fatty liver is most commonly associated with prolonged alcohol intake. However it is also occurring from diets high in sugars and refined carbohydrate (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), particularly in overweight or obese individuals. It primarily means an accumulation of fats (predominantly triglycerides in your liver). Do you suffer from alcoholism? There are many support groups out there to help you if you have a drinking problem. Do you follow a diet loaded with sugary foods and refined carbohydrates? Two percent of people with fatty liver go on to have liver cirrhosis.
What’s worrisome with fatty liver is that it shows no symptoms and is often discovered through routine testing for another medical problem. You should definitely have your liver checked out if you have the following risk factors: obesity, diabetes mellitus, high blood fats, gout, metabolic syndrome or heart disease. Though getting your liver tested as part of your annual health check up is the best form of prevention.
A recent study found that exposure to endocrine disruptors like BPA (bisphenol A) in early life can increase your risk of developing fatty liver later on. Better stay away from cosmetic products that contain these chemicals.
Heart disease. For optimal cardiovascular health, you need to start screening for heart disease as early as the age of 20. At this age, you establish baseline values as an adult. In fact heart diseases are now occurring in the population at a younger age than ever before.
In addition discuss diet, physical activity and smoking (if you do smoke) with your healthcare practitioner. Diet and lifestyle are major factors in heart disease development, which is good news because they’re easy to do something about and the sooner you start the better.
Men outnumber women when it comes to heart disease. If you notice the following symptoms, consult your healthcare practitioner promptly: shortness of breath, chest pain, pain in the upper abdomen and pain in your jaw or neck.
Colon Cancer. In New Zealand and Australia, there are some ethnic disparities when it comes to cancer survival. Colon cancer is one of them. Both countries have national screening programs for colorectal cancer. You should ask your doctor about these. Symptoms of bowel cancer (or colorectal cancer) include: blood in your stool, unintentional weight loss, abdominal pain or cramping, changes in your bowel motions (constipation or diarrhoea), bloating and symptoms of anaemia. People who develop colon cancer are usually in their 50s.
It may be time for vegetarians to celebrate. A recent study found that eating a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of acquiring colon cancer. This may be due to the higher percentage of fibre from vegetables in their diet, so don’t forget to eat plenty of fresh (raw if possible) vegetables everyday!
Below are some tips to help you avoid or decrease your chances of getting the abovementioned diseases:
- 1. Ask your healthcare practitioner how often you should come back for a check-up and when you can start regular health screening tests.
- 2. Drink alcohol in moderation. Give your liver a rest please. Give it 6 months or a year off.
- 3. Men like to keep it simple. Follow the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the time, try to eat unprocessed, whole foods with plenty of vegetables. No deliveries from fast food restaurants.
- 4. Take your supplements regularly, but don’t depend entirely on them as diet and lifestyle are still the most important.