When was the last time you made an appointment with your doctor? If you’re like the average Australian man, you may have a few physical aches and pains that you’re hoping will ‘just go away’. Or maybe your stress levels feel high and are affecting your mood or sleep patterns?
Here’s the thing: if your car engine made a clunking noise and driving it no longer felt quite right, you’d probably head to your mechanic straight away. Your health is no different.
Just like your car, your body’s physical and mental health needs regular check-ups. Ignoring the physical and mental warning signals can put you at greater risk of cardiovascular (heart) disease, mental health illness and cancer. Man up and have the courage to take care of yourself, so you can take care of your loved ones.
Men’s Health: Are you gambling with your heart health?
Did you know that 2 out of 5 Australian men between the ages of 45 to 74 have a moderate-to-high risk of having a stroke or heart attack in the next five years? The Heart Foundation paints a bleak picture: if you’re one of the 1.4 million men who fall into this group, you have a 1 in 10 chance of having a heart attack or stroke. But if you’re one of the 2 out of 3 men at high risk, the likelihood of having a stroke or heart attack is at least a 1 in 6. The heartbreaking thing (pardon the pun) about all this, is that heart attacks or strokes for men aged 45 to 74 can be prevented.
The best ways to prevent cardiovascular disease
When was the last time you saw your doctor for a heart health check? The checks are part of your normal health check up and will give you the facts about your risk of heart attack or stroke. Your doctor will:
Take blood tests
Check your blood pressure
Get a detailed family health history
Ask you questions about your lifestyle, including stress levels and sleep patterns
When the test results are available, your doctor can tell you whether you have a low, moderate or high risk of having heart attack or stroke in the next 5 years. Your doctor will also let you know of ways you can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. This can include lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improving your diet and increasing the amount you exercise.
What risk factors can contribute to cardiovascular disease?
Risk factors for cardiovascular disease can be behavioral or genetic but they can also be a result of stressful life events. These risk factors include:
Behavioral: Smoking, inadequate physical activity
Disease-based or metabolic factors: Obese or overweight, hypertension, high cholesterol
Non-modifiable factors: Other chronic diseases, including: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD; lung disease) and diabetes
Other factors: Social isolation, depression
Be honest with yourself. If you have been ignoring physical warning signs, hoping they’ll ‘just go away’ it’s time to get a check up. Remember, when it comes to your cardiovascular health, prevention is far better than cure. It’s time to man up and book your doctor appointment today.
How to take action to improve your mental health
Your mental health changes at different times in your life, moving back and forth from positive and healthy to negative and unhealthy. Keeping things under wraps and not talking to your partner, mates or a doctor about how you’re feeling only makes things worse. It’s time to ‘man up’ and get the help you need. Only then, when you take steps to manage your mental health, will your quality of life improve.
What are the signs of mental illness?
Unlike physical illness, mental illness can be hard to spot. Knowing the signs to look out for in yourself or a friend is important. This is not to diagnose an issue, but to confirm that you should speak to your doctor. Common signs of a mental health issue include:
Feeling anxious or worried
Having sleep problems, feeling tired or lethargic
Abusing drugs or alcohol
Feeling unhappy or depressed
Experiencing weight or appetite changes
Being quiet or withdrawn
Having emotional outbursts
Feeling guilty or worthless
Unable to understand or relate to people and situations
A change in sex drive
Extreme low and high mood changes
Feeling detached from reality, delusions, hallucinations or paranoia
Excessive anger, violence or hostility
It’s important to note that some signs of mental illness can emerge as physical problems. These can include:
Unexplained aches and pains
What risk factors can contribute to mental illness?
Risk factors for mental illness can be behavioral or genetic and can also be a result of stressful life events. These risk factors include:
Behavioral: Drug and/or alcohol abuse, a low resilience or ability to cope with and manage stressful situations, difficult emotions or anxiety
Family history: A family history of mental health disorders can make you more prone to mental illness
Stressful life events: A serious illness, death of a family member or close friend, separation or divorce, unemployment, retirement, becoming a father, being a victim of bullying, family dysfunction, experiencing trauma, social isolation
Could one of your mates be doing it tough emotionally without you knowing it? Australian men shine when it comes to being there for their mates. Don’t let the stigma relating to speaking up about mental health concerns stop you asking if your mate is okay. Remember, men who bottle up mental health issues, ‘put on a brave face’ or ‘try to deal with it alone’ can be more prone to suicide. It’s time to man up; real men ask for help.
How are you feeling today? You don’t have to wait until you’re feeling overwhelmed to reach out and get help. Be brave, check in with someone on your mental health and book your appointment today.
Signs and symptoms of lung cancer in men
It’s a sad fact that lung cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer in Australia. With more than 11,000 Australians diagnosed with lung cancer each year, it’s important to man up and find out if you’re at risk of developing this disease.
Lung cancer is a malignant tumour that grows uncontrollably in one or both of the lungs. Starting as primary lung cancer, it can become secondary cancer and spread to other body parts including the brain, liver, bones, adrenal glands and lymph nodes.
What risk factors can contribute to lung cancer?
Risk factors that contribute to lung cancer include:
Behavioral: Smoking (current or ex-smokers), passive smoking via exposure to second hand smoke
Non-modifiable factors: Having a genetic predisposition
Other factors: Exposure to chemicals, air pollution, fumes and dusts (often workplace-associated)
What are the common symptoms of lung cancer?
The symptoms of lung cancer can appear differently from person to person. They can include:
Shortness of breath
A cough that won’t go away
Frequent lung infections like pneumonia or bronchitis
A hoarse voice
Dull, aching or persistent chest pain
It’s important to note that lung cancer symptoms can be vague. Sometimes lung cancer is only diagnosed when it has advanced into other parts of the body. If you have one or more of the above symptoms, it’s important to be brave, man up and book your appointment today.
Be brave, see your doctor!
Have the courage to ask your doctor all of the hard questions about your physical and mental health. The team of highly trained and experienced doctors and nurses at Modern Medical clinics have performed thousands of men’s health checks. Don’t spend another moment putting off looking after your health and wellbeing. It’s time to man up book your check up today