It’s said that men take more care of their cars than their bodies. A rattle, a lack of performance, a scratch on the paintwork receive prompt attention. But men often find it hard to deal with their health. In fact on average men visit the doctor 20 percent less than women.
Many regard checkups as unnecessary and even if something is wrong they often keep it to themselves, ignoring the fact that the earlier something is diagnosed the greater the chances are of full recovery.
Read on for some common symptoms men should never ignore…
YOU FEEL ANXIOUS
If you have stomach butterflies, dry mouth, experience mood swings and irritability or neck muscles tension some or most of the time, health-damaging long-term stress may be the cause. Unchecked, this contributes to high blood pressure, weakened immunity, poor concentration, insomnia, anxiety and depression.
Keep stress in check by eating regularly, avoiding too much caffeine, getting enough rest, taking a valerian supplement before going to bed and making time to relax and unwind.
YOU WANT TO PEE ALL THE TIME
Have a prostate checkup if passing urine more often especially at night. If you have difficulty getting going, stopping and starting, or urgently need to go it may mean your prostate is enlarged and causing a blockage, which is most common in men over 40.
Ease symptoms by reducing caffeine and alcohol intake and taking the herb saw palmetto. Zinc is also needed for a healthy prostate.
YOU’VE GOT A BEER BELLY
Divide your weight in kilograms by your height in metres then divide this result by your height in metres again. The result is your body mass index or BMI. If it’s over 30, you are obese.
Obesity contributes to a number of health problems including heart disease, diabetes and osteoarthritis. It is also thought to knock an average of nine years off a man’s life expectancy.
Regular exercise and eating a low calorie diet are the best ways to maintain a healthy weight.
YOU FEEL LOW
Depression strikes men too. It makes them feel sad and miserable and affects their performance, making everyday jobs harder too. Feeling low, sad or miserable; becoming angry for little reason; poor concentration and motivation; minimal enjoyment or pleasure from life; disturbed sleep; appetite disturbance; fatigue and poor libido are typical symptoms.
Plenty of rest and relaxation, regular exercise, not drinking too much alcohol and eating a balanced healthy diet all boost mood. Taking the herb St. John’s wort can help overcome mild-to-moderate depression. It can be treated, so never be frightened to ask for help.
YOU FEEL THIRSTY ALL THE TIME
Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce enough insulin and blood sugar levels rise too high. This damages blood vessels and nerves, increasing the risk of heart disease, blindness, kidney damage and impotence.
A test every few years is important because although diabetes may cause for example tiredness, excessive thirst and the need to pass urine more, it often causes no symptoms at all.
Keeping an eye on your weight and exercising regularly reduces your risk of diabetes.
THERE’S A LUMP DOWN THERE
Regular testicular self-examination is the best way of detecting cancer early when treatment is most successful. In the shower, check for swelling, a pea-sized hard lump on the front or side of the testicle, or a dull ache or sharp pain felt around the testicle or in the scrotum. If you’re worried about something, don’t ignore it, ask your doctor as soon as possible to check it out.
The testes don’t like smoking or too much alcohol or too much heat, but they do like vitamins A, C and E, selenium and zinc to help to keep them healthy and producing sperm as well.
A MOLE HAS CHANGED
If an existing mole changes size, shape or colour or develops irregular edges, bleeds, itches, crusts or reddens or a new one appears, ask your doctor to check it.
Protect your skin from excessive sun exposure and skin burning – the major risk factors for cancer- by applying a cream with UVA and UVB protection regularly
throughout the day, covering up with sleeves, a hat and sunglasses and staying in the shade between 11am and 3pm. Daily moisturising with a cream containing vitamins C and E, not smoking, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, drinking at least eight glasses of water a day and taking omega 3 fish oils and kelp extract all contribute to good skin health.
YOUR BOWEL HABITS CHANGE
Check the toilet bowl before flushing. Blood or mucus in the stool, a change from normal bowel habit that lasts more than a few weeks without returning to normal, a feeling of incomplete bowel emptying, stomach pain or discomfort, unexplained weight loss, tiredness or a lump in the abdomen indicate a checkup with your doctor is needed.
Artichoke extract, a daily probiotic, and psyllium can all help the bowel perform properly. Moderate exercise, a diet in fibre, fruit and vegetables and red meat as well as maintaining an ideal weight may help.
YOU CAN’T SEE AS WELL
Have your eyes tested every couple of years to make sure you are seeing every-thing clearly. Hidden problems can also be detected during an examination. Glaucoma is a condition that untreated, can cause blindness so once you reach the fabulous age of 40, you should be tested for this every two years.
Omega 3 fish oils, garlic and Pycnogenol are just some of the supplements that can help boost circulation to the eyes. Lutein is also thought to help keep eyes healthy.