Men Getting The Health Message

Quite simply, men are not conditioned to visit their doctor as women are. Not only do men tend not to use services, they use them at a later stage after their symptoms start. Sadly, in some cases it’s a bit on the late side.

Men are more likely to see their symptoms as something that will eventually go away. This unfortunate situation leads to more men dying from cancers than women, because by the time men go to their doctors, their cancer is usually at a more advanced stage.

There are a few key areas that men of any age, but especially those over 50 years old, can address to increase their lifespan:

• Eat well and exercise. Take regular exercise that is enjoyable, eat minimal takeaway food, have plenty of fresh, raw and cooked vegetables, plenty of water, and a moderate alcohol intake.

• Have a Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) done – chemists supply kits and the tests can be done at home. If the test is positive, then it’s time to visit the GP for further testing. It doesn’t mean that the person has bowel cancer, but blood in the stool does require medical investigation. In the over 50’s, the FOBT test should be conducted every few years.

Bowel cancer is two and a half times more likely to shorten a man’s life than prostate cancer.

• Have a prostate-specific-antigen (PSA) test done

• Check your stress levels. Ongoing stress is a real health hazard. Men are more likely to bottle their issues up, grin and bear it, at the expense of their health. As the saying goes, ‘it’s not what you eat – it’s what eats you.’

Men who have depression and anxiety issues now have an amazing, often free, 24-hour treatment at their disposal: MoodGYM - an Internet based programme that anyone can access, any time of the day or night (when lying awake worrying.) Surveys show that people who access the program weekly end up with markedly reduced depressive symptoms, which are similar results to face-to-face treatment. MoodGYM gives gives you skills, it’s economical, it’s confidential and you can access it no matter where you live.

Because it is interactive there is immediate feedback which is better than reading self-help books.  Reading well-prepared information about a condition – or 'psycho education' – can have a healing effect. The MoodGYM ARL is moodgym.anu.edu.au/

So gentlemen, if you have an ongoing symptom or symptoms of any kind – please, please, find out what’s causing it – and get it treated sooner rather than later. Your families want to have a healthy, happy you.


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