Men’s Health

Most men know more about a woman’s monthly cycle than they do about their own body and its sexual health. A recent survey showed that males are more knowledgeable about breast cancer and pre-menstrual syndrome than about testicular cancer or prostate gland enlargement. This is surprising, considering that:

– 80 per cent of males will eventually need treatment for prostate problems
– prostate cancer is as common as female breast cancer
– testicular cancer is the commonest malignancy in males between the ages of 20 and 40.

Even if a man does recognize he has a health problem, he frequently ignores it in the hope it will go away. Four out of every five males admit to taking too long before seeking medical advice. This is borne out by the fact that, of those people who do not consult their doctor at least once per year, over two thirds are male. Men are four times less likely to consult a doctor about their health worries than women, but are more likely to have an emergency admission to hospital with serious illnesses such as a heart attack or stroke.

One problem is that men are not used to discussing embarrassing subjects, or having intimate investigations performed. This may be a cultural difference, as research shows.

Male health desperately needs improving. Men are more likely to die prematurely at any age up to 65 than a woman born in the same year:

– an 18-year-old male has an 80 per cent chance of surviving to the age of 65; an 18-year-old female has an 88 per cent chance of surviving to the age of 65.
– Men have an average life expectancy of 72, compared with 78 for women.

Many of the reasons why males tend to die younger than women are related to differences in diet and lifestyle. Health professionals are now targeting males in an attempt to improve their health. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, there is considerable room for improvement:

– 45 per cent of men are overweight.
– 13 per cent of men are obese-almost double the figure of four years ago.
– 80 per cent of men do not exercise at least three times per week.
– 60 per cent of middle-aged men are totally inactive.
– Twice as many men drink above the recommended safe alcohol maximum than women.
– Seven out of every eight males has at least one risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke
(raised blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol level, smoking, lack of exercise).
– Only 25 per cent of males with high blood pressure have their condition controlled by drugs.
– Men aged 55-74 are more than twice as likely to have had a heart attack or stroke than a woman of the same age.

In addition, over the last 50 years the male sperm count has almost halved, probably due to adverse dietary, lifestyle and environmental factors. There are many simple steps a man can take to significantly improve the quality and quantity of his sperm-if only he knew what they were. These steps can make the difference between subfertility and fertility.

Source: Sarah Brewer, MD

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