Regular trips to the doctor can help prevent serious illnesses
With June being Men’s Health Month, a campaign named “Let’s Talk Balls” has been launched to promote health awareness and education among men.
Men are short changed when it comes to their health. They die on average six to eight years earlier than women and mostly from preventable health conditions. One of the reasons for this is that men don’t go for regular checkups, says president of the International Society of Men’s Health, Professor Ridwan Shabsigh, who is in South Africa for the campaign.
“The aim of the ‘Let’s talk Balls’ campaign is to empower men to take good care of themselves. Men suffer from cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cancer, as well as preventable causes such as obesity, smoking, alcohol, drugs and unsafe sex. Raising knowledge is essential,” says Shabsigh.
Erectile dysfunction is a common health problem for men in their 40s and goes largely untreated. It can often be a symptom of other significant underlying conditions, such as abdominal obesity, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. It can also be a three year warning for a heart attack.
“In 80% of cases, erectile dysfunction (ED), the inability to obtain and sustain an erection, can be traced back to an organic cause not related to sexual drive,” says host of the Dr Oz Show, Dr Mehmet Oz.
“To get to the organic root of erectile problems you need to look at the conditions that affect the nerves, blood vessels and hormones that relate to the penis. This is where ED becomes a heads-up for some life-threatening conditions,” says Oz.
There are a variety of treatments for erectile dysfunction. Ways to prevent erectile dysfunction include:
* Stop smoking
* Know your blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels
* Do a hormone check
* Assess your medications
* Keep the weight off and exercise
* Take regular trips to your doctor for check-ups.
Women do pap smears and mammograms once a year and if they have any symptoms they will be noticed in time. For men this is often not the case, says Shabsigh. Sexual health is the portal to discovering underlying health issues in men. When men get to a certain age they should be screened regularly by their doctor. For prostate cancer, men over the age of 50 should be checked once a year, however if they have a family history of cancer then they should start at age 40.
“Men who are at risk should be treated more frequently such as if they work with asbestos (mining) or they smoke. If you are obese you are at risk of diabetes,” says Shabsigh.
* Watch Dr Oz on SABC3, Mondays to Fridays at 15:45.