Wellbeing………with an emphasis on Men’s Health

There seems to be a plethora of information and much discussion on female health issues ( and quite rightly so, in my opinion ) but there is not so much emphasis on male health. Whilst many health centres have regular women’s wellbeing and health clinics there are not so many geared specifically towards men.
Health is not a topic of conversation amongst men when they gather in the pub yet they face the same issues as women when the aging process kicks in with rising blood pressure, cholesterol & sugar levels, to name but a few. I would like to raise awareness on a range of health conditions which affect both sexes but, as highlighted in the heading of this article, with the emphasis on male attitudes in general towards health-related issues.

Bizarre as it may sound, it is neither too soon nor too late to start paying attention to one’s body and to address any changes which are discovered, as opposed to ignoring them. Time after time we hear someone saying, usually with a tinge of regret, “if only”………….it is our job to ensure that we hear this less.

How many of us have our blood pressure checked on a regular basis? How many of us know whether or not we have high or low, good or bad cholesterol levels? Are you aware that you do not even need to make an appointment to see your G.P. to have these checked and that your local pharmacy probably has the capability of carrying out such checks? Having both of these checks done will give a clear indication of whether or not there is cause for concern and, if this is found to be the case, what steps can be taken to address it.
Cancer is a word which strikes fear into our hearts whenever we hear it uttered yet it is an irrefutable fact that in the vast majority of cases, if detected at an early stage, the rate of successful treatment is extremely high. I speak from personal experience as my highly aggressive pancreatic cancer, although found by accident during an emergency medical procedure, was removed weeks after detection, and some 18 months later I am totally cancer-free.

Testicular and prostate cancers are no longer the death sentence they were only a decade ago. Men can self-check their bodies and, by becoming more familiar with them, are better placed to recognise changes which may occur at an early stage. It may surprise you to learn that breast cancer is found in men ( and not only those of us who have moobs ) and that it, too, can be successfully treated if detected early enough.

Stress-related illness and depression affects as many men as women, yet it is a taboo topic for discussion. There is still a dinosaur attitude towards depression as if it is seen as a weakness and there is a perception that we need to ‘man up’ to a given situation to deal with the fallout. Nothing could be further from the truth and the first, and probably most important and difficult action to take, is to simply talk about how we are feeling. The sheer relief which will follow is an indication of just how easy it can be to taking that tentative first step to regain control of our life. There is more than an element of truth in the old saying “ a problem shared…..”
I know I have only scraped the surface yet it is only by raising awareness that progress can be made. It may be a cliché but prevention is manifestly better than cure.

Stuart Band