5 TOP THREATS to men’s health

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More often, men put their health last. They hardly go to a doctor unless they suspect that they are suffering from a serious condition. But even if you’re feeling healthy, it is wise to have regular check-ups to avoid these top health threats to men.

1. Cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease, also known as heart disease, generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. It is said to be the number-one cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa among adults over 30 years. Globally, in low and middle-income countries, cardiovascular disease is responsible for 80 per cent of the world’s death burden. Although the disease affects both genders, men are at a higher risk. It is therefore necessary to get regular medical check-ups to reduce the risk of a heart disease. Maintaining a healthy diet and having regular physical activity also helps to lower your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and weight, and hence reducing the risk of heart disease. Of equal importance is the need to have your blood pressure checked at least once every two years starting from the age of 18. It is worth noting that normal 2blood pressure is usually below 120/80.

2. Erectile dysfunction. This is the repeated inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. Occasional erectile dysfunction is not unusual as many men experience it especially when stressed, but if it is frequent, then it can be a sign of an underlying health problem. And because this is a condition whose risk increases with age, it is best to visit a doctor and have your testicles examined regularly for lumps, whatever your age. A lot of men shy away from doctors because it can be embarrassing to admit that one has an erectile dysfunction and as a result, some opt to self medicate. However, this is not safe and you can end up doing more damage to your health. Get a doctor who you are comfortable with and let him or her treat you because at the end of the day,3your health is more crucial than your ego.

3. Prostate cancer. Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs even though you have it for many years. Often, the symptoms only become noticeable when one’s prostate has enlarged enough to affect the urethra hence causing discomfort when urinating, an increased urge to urinate and a feeling that one’s bladder has not fully emptied.It is said that a man’s chances of developing prostate cancer increases as they grow older. It is therefore recommended that all males over 35 years have a prostate gland physical check at least once a year. This can help with the early detection of prostate enlargement, which may signal a possibility of prostate cancer. If a definite diagnosis can’t be made by this examination, use of a cystoscope may be necessary. This instrument is passed through the urethra into the bladder, enabling the doctor to see the interior of this organ and determine what effect prostatic enlargement is having on the function of this organ.

4.Depression. Depression is an emotional disturbance that affects not only one’s body but also their overall health. A lot of men are less likely to seek help when feeling depressed. They will often tend to shut down and instead of expressing sadness or even crying, they tend to become violent or even attempt suicide.

5. Suicide. Statistics indicate that although more female attempt suicide, males are more successful at it. If you have signs and symptoms of depression such as feelings of sadness or unhappiness and loss of interest in normal activities, it is important to seek help from a psychologist. Look for healthy ways to release your frustrations such as talking to a trusted friend, a professional or engaging in sports to release the tension. Instead of waiting until something goes wrong for you to visit the doctor, purpose to go for regular check-ups, as prevention is better than cure.

Published in January 2015

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