June 14 to 20 marks Men’s Health Week and it’s a friendly reminder for all males to think about what matters most — their health.
Men’s health deserves special attention because men statistically have poorer health than females and that’s something that needs to change!
In honour of this event, we’ve compiled some of the key health issues facing men today.
Key men’s health issues
When it comes to issues that are predominant amongst men, the Australian Bureau of Statistics found these were the top 10 causes of premature death in 2016:
- Ischaemic heart disease
- Trachea and lung cancer
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- Cerebrovascular diseases
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases
- Prostate cancer
- Colon and rectum cancer
- Blood and lymph cancer, including leukaemia
The Australian government’s Health Direct also points out a number of health problems in men that, while not all are life-threatening, may get overlooked:
- Androgen deficiency – occurs when the body is not able to make enough testosterone which can impact the quality of life. Symptoms can include low energy levels, mood swings, irritability, poor concentration, reduced muscle strength and low sex drive.
- Depression and anxiety – Beyond Blue reports that 1 in 8 men will experience depression and 1 in 5 will have anxiety during their lives. The number of men who die by suicide is twice the annual national road toll. Resources and support are available at Beyond Blue.
- Erectile dysfunction – impacts 1 in 5 men over 40 years. It is not a disease but can sometimes indicate other issues like diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Infertility – it’s believed 4 in 10 cases of infertility are attributable to men. It’s usually caused by poor sperm transport but can only be detected through medical tests. It’s important to be checked by a doctor as male infertility can sometimes signal other issues like androgen deficiency or testicular cancer.
They didn’t include man flu on the list but everyone knows the symptoms of that one. Jokes aside, if COVID-19 has taught us anything it’s that even the smallest of colds is worth taking seriously.
Get into better health habits
It’s easy to think of a healthy lifestyle as just eating, sleeping and exercising properly, but none of that is worth anything if you ignore a serious health issue.
Better Health theorises that men may have poorer health than women due to a range of factors. This includes things like long office hours that make it harder to book a doctor’s appointment, more healthcare funding that focuses specifically on women, and that men are encouraged by our culture to be tough and independent and that seeking help from a doctor may threaten that.
Despite these factors, individuals can still make a change and that’s what Men’s Health Week is all about.
Healthy Male suggests that all men remember it’s healthy to talk about their issues and they shouldn’t avoid any changes they notice in themselves. If you have any concerns it’s worth seeing a doctor about it.
Men can also take their health into their own hands by staying informed on potential health issues that may impact them and knowing how to avoid them. You can find a list of information sheets here.
There are also a number of men’s health clinics and hotline options that are available, such as MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78.
Whether it’s participating in a fundraising event, sharing health info or taking a hard look at yourself or the men in your life, everyone can help contribute to Men’s Health Week.