MEN suffer with a number of common health issues that can cause angst and a host of problems.
Quite often they can be easily remedied if you know what to look out for – but often men don't know the signs.
It's a societal thing to focus on the look of a male body, with less emphasis given to the physical or mental side.
But Dr Jeff Foster, who has written a new book – Man Alive: The Health Problems Men Face And How To Fix Them – wants men to understand what common ailments to watch out for.
He told the Independent: "Men are conditioned to develop health practices and habits that increase their risk of disease and make it harder for them to seek medical advice when they need it.
“Bad health isn’t inevitable for men. The key is to empower men with the knowledge they need to understand their own bodies and minds.”
Here we outline six common problems and how to tackle them…
Around a million men are affected by low testosterone.It's known as andropause or "manopause", and mimics a lot of the symptoms experienced by women during the menopause.
But whereas the menopause usually affects older women, men from 30 can suffer with andropause.
Men afflicted with this condition can often put it down to working too hard or a mid-life crisis.
It is often missed as it is lumped in with something else, or thought to be general tiredness.
Dr Foster: "Symptoms include tiredness, falling asleep at the end of the day, decreased libido, increased body fat/decreased muscle, poor concentration/brain fog and being more irritable.
"In the later stages, men may also suffer night sweats, changes to cholesterol and blood pressure, diabetes risk and osteoporosis (blood thinning)."
The condition is diagnosed really simply – through a blood test – although this has to be interpreted correctly.
It can then be treated by fixing the cause or going onto testosterone replacement therapy.
Dr Foster said knowing what's wrong can drastically improves men's lives, save marriages and jobs.
About one in eight men in the UK suffer mental health problems.
While women are more likely to be diagnosed with issues, suicide rates are higher in men.
Mental health struggles can come from a range of reasons, and aren't always psychological.
Dr Foster said: "We need to start opening up. It doesn’t need to be with a doctor necessarily, but even a friend, or anyone we can open up to.
"Of course, there are medications, talking therapies and a range of other options available, but the key to changing male mental health is giving men the tools and social acceptance of being able to say, ‘it’s ok to cry’.”
About 50 per cent of men will suffer with erectile dysfunction (ED) at some point in their lives.
Again, the reasons behind the condition can be wide-ranging – so it's best to get it checked out.
ED can happen due to neurological or metabolic causes, anxiety or hormone problems.
Dr Foster revealed it can even be due to narrowing of the blood supply to the penis, which is vital to know about.
If there is a vascular cause for ED it is thought the patient could have about three years until their heart is also affected – which serves as a good warning.
It is thought that all men will have some degree of prostate cancer, if they live long enough.
It is the most common cancer in men and makes up for a quarter of all cases.
There is no national screening programme, although once you reach around 50 years old your GP should start doing regular checks.
But often cases are missed with the cancer growing quickly – some symptoms to watch out for include:
- A painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation
- Frequent urination, particularly at night
- Difficulty stopping or starting urination
- Sudden erectile dysfunction
- Blood in urine or semen
You can reduce your risk by keeping in shape, taking vitamin D, avoiding excess calcium and getting regular checks.
Obesity levels are rising in men each year.
This has a knock on effect for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type two diabetes, heart disease and strokes.
Dr Foster recommends: "When it comes to exercise, it’s far simpler: everyone should be doing it.
"There’s no single best type of exercise, but we’re not built to be sedentary, and exercise has been shown to reduce the risks of virtually every medical condition.”
This is an important topic for many men, and the source of a lot of anxiety for some.
Going bald and losing hair can have a really big impact on men's mental health and body image.
Lots of people are taken in by a growing market of lotions and pills that claim to help.
But Dr Foster warns against these, advising men to speak to their doctor to decide on the right treatment if that is a road they want to go down.
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