For much of your '20s you partied like there was no tomorrow. But now, as you get older, you realise the need to take care of your health just a little bit better…
In South Africa, and globally, men’s health issues are increasingly prevalent. Unfortunately, there still seems to be a stigma around confronting these issues. It’s also become a case of: “out of sight, out of mind.”
In the spirit of Movember, we look at three common illnesses men face, and how you can do your best to prevent it.
1. Erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the most feared health problems for men, and curing it relies heavily on identifying the cause(s). ED can be attributed to many things, but your lifestyle plays an integral part in your overall performance. Factors that influence erectile dysfunction include smoking, alcohol abuse, not enough exercise and rest, drug use, and how sexually active you are. ED symptoms include an inability to have an erection, to maintain an erection until the end of a sexual act, as well as not being able to reach an orgasm or ejaculation.
Help at hand
It’s understandably uncomfortable to chat about this issue. So in the spirit of camaraderie and Movember, get a couple of friends to tag along and pay your urologist a visit. He’ll perform routine checks on everyone to check out the condition of your penises (obviously not everyone at the same time!). Even if you don’t suffer from erectile dysfunction, it’s good to just get that reassuring pat on the back that your health is in a good place.
2. Prostate cancer
Located between the bladder and the rectum, the prostate gland plays a role in reproduction. So it’s rather important. Sometimes, without warning, the prostate can develop problems and if not detected early, even cancer. The problem is though, that men often disregard the importance of having their prostate checked. In most cases, a tumour takes years to be detected or become visible and problematic. And unfortunately by that time, it’s often too late to reverse the cancer.
Help at hand
Yes, we know the physical exam is a bit uncomfortable, but what’s a little discomfort compared to cancer?! By having your prostate checked on a regular basis you can prevent and minimise the risk of developing cancer. Regular check-ups; even when there are no health concerns can be the key to continuing the lifestyle you have become accustomed to. The older you are, the more susceptible you are to prostate cancer. But early prevention is crucial.
3. Cardiovascular diseases
Cardiovascular health problems are not just limited to the heart; they affect the brain as well. The two most known cardiovascular problems are heart attacks and strokes, but the real concern is that men are vulnerable to both. When either a heart attack or stroke hit, it restricts the blood flow to the brain; which in turn deprives the brain from oxygen. Factors that promote cardiovascular diseases include unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and stress of any kind, smoking, and excessive alcohol usage. Unfortunately, some men are genetically at risk of developing cardiovascular health issues, but a few lifestyle changes can minimise the risk. By simply altering your diet, increasing your daily water intake, brisk walking or jogging, you’re already taking steps in the right direction.
Help at hand
Pop in to your doctor for a visit and have a cardiovascular check done. Follow this up by exercising with friends regularly or by yourself, i.e. running, cycling, swimming, etc. In addition, quit smoking and eat healthier. This will help you to lose weight, which in turn will lessen the strain on the heart. No man is immune to cardiovascular diseases, but with the right attitude, you can hold off the risk.