40% of UK men die prematurely every year due to indifference to the health. These are the UK govt. statistics. Researches conclude that men only access health care services when nothing seems to work out. However, by then their condition has deteriorated beyond recovery. There are some more alarming figures: 20% men have not seen a doctor in the past three years and one in 50 men has never been to a doctor. ( Stats. by an Insurance Firm, Insureblue). They are even less likely to turn up for dental checkups, or obtain health information from online sources.
The biggest reason for such reluctance can be the “I’ll be alright” attitude or the longstanding traditions thatportray men as, “the strongest”. This eventually delay the chances of early detection and hence prevention. Acc. to studies, various other reasons for men not visiting a health care professional are:
- Unable to fit the appointment time in the schedule
- Feel embarrassed to discuss their health problems
- Fear of landing up in the hospital
Women on the other hand, are more proactive about their health. The Awareness campaigns, the funding for Breast Cancer have been enormous in comparison to Prostate Cancer in men. Statistics show that women in UK, live four years more than men. Let us discuss in detail, the various health issues the UK men suffer from.
1. Prostate Cancer: The most common cancer in UK men, with over, 40,000 new cases coming up every year. The sad part is that it develops slowly. It is not before the prostate grows large enough to affect the urethra, do men come encounter this problem. Men could feel the urge to urinate frequently, getting a feeling, as if the bladder has not fully emptied, or straining while urinating. However, these signs could be caused by another condition, called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. The reasons are still unknown however, older age and family history could increase the chances of prostate cancer.
Keeping a close watch, will help cancer detection at an early stage and can well be treated. Surgical prostate removal, radiotherapy and hormone therapy are some of the treatment methods employed at early stages.However, if the cancer cells spread to the bone, the cancer cannot be treated.
2. Lung Cancer: this is the second most common cancer among men after prostate cancer. Around 23,200 new cases came to light only in 2010. The relationship between cancer and tobacco was established about 50 years ago. Smoking is therefore, the major reason for lung cancer in UK. Out of 10, 8 lung cancers are the result of smoking. According to cancer research UK, about 10 million adults indulge in smoking. Statistics show that smoking cessation programs run by NHS, are much less used by men than women. Scotland, which has a history of high smoking prevalence, also accounts for the highest lung cancer cases worldwide.
Passive smoking, occupational exposure, diesel exhaust, and radon gas are some other reasons of lung cancer. Poor diet also accounts for around 9% lung cancers in UK.
3. Testicular Cancer: though relatively uncommon, but still testicular cancer is the most common of all cancers to affect the younger population in the age group 15 to 44. Of the 2,286 UK men who were diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2010, 75 lost their lives. ( Statistics by Cancer Research UK)
Any lump or swelling around the testicles, which is painless, is the most common symptom. Some other signs include a dull ache or slight heaviness in the scrotum (Scrotum is a sac of skin that contains testicles. It hangs underneath the penis.). There are different types of testicular cancers of which, ‘ germ cell testicular cancer’ is the most common, accounting for 95% of all testicular cancers. Family History or if a child is born with undescended testicles, could be some of the reasons for this cancer. The good news is that 95% of the cases are treatable if diagnosed early.
4. Obesity: In 2012, 26.2% men were clinically obese. Acc. tothe govt. statistics, this figure is expected to reach 36% by 2015 andonly 13% of the population will have a healthy body mass index. The doctors have already called for a united action from the government, health bodies, schools, parents and teachers to prevent Britain from becoming the “Fat Man of Europe”. The UK government has taken the plunge and has framed a policy called ” Reducing Obesity and Improving Diet”. It is a framework for fighting the obesity menace. It calls for encouraging people to make healthier food choices and indulge in more physical activities.
Obesity is a serious threat as it puts you at higher risk of health problem like:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Certain cancers like colon cancer and breast cancer
In addition, it hampers your life and could even drive a person to depression. However, there is a way out. Take a pledge to shun the extra weight. In addition, take steps to prevent further weight gain, follow a controlled but a healthy diet regimen, indulge in regular exercise. Even surgery is available, but understand that there is no magic wand to ward off obesity. It will take time, you need to be patient and stick to the designed program for weight loss.
5. Binge Drinking: As per the UK govt. guidelines, men could drink 21 units of alcohol in one week or four units in a day with two alcohol- free days in a week. According to a survey done by the NHS in 2010, 35% of men drank more than the permissible limits of four units on any given day. About 19% of men drunk twice the maximum daily recommended limits. 6% of UK men drink more than 51 units in a single week.
Indulging in such a binge drinking behavior can lead to a lot of health concerns. Low energy levels and erection issues in the short run and heart disease and cancer in the long run. Studies show that excessive alcohol consumption affects the sperm quality and quantity. In fact, it stops the liver from metabolising Vitamin A, which is a must for sperm development. Heavy drinking can give some unpleasant results like testicle withering, male breast enlargement, hair loss, skin inflammation etc. It is therefore, important to keep a control over the amount of alcohol you take in.
6. Erectile Dysfunction: a common problem experienced by almost all males once in their life time. Though, it is more common in older males, but sometimes even the younger generation complains about ED. Let us try to understand it. ED is a condition in which the person is either not able to get or maintain an erection sufficient for a satisfied sexual activity.
In older males, age has a role to play. However, in the adults there could be a variety of reasons for ED like performance anxiety, fear of being caught, unhealthy lifestyle practices. There are certain health conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, hormonal problems or any recent surgery or injury to the penile area, which can also result in ED.
The doctor will suggest you to make some slight changes in your lifestyle like reducing the weight, prescribe medications for cardiovascular health issues, sex therapy , and cognitive behavioral therapy etc. Sildenafil (Viagra) has proved to be beneficial in treating ED in men. Thanks, to the low cost generic versions, more men are now able to use these medications and get rid of ED.
7. Male Pattern Baldness: 6.5 million men in the UK are currently suffering from male pattern baldness, the most common hair loss problem. The name male pattern baldness is so called because of a certain pattern that starts with a receding hairline, then followed with hair thinning on temples and crown. It is not a disease and is easily treatable. Family history is the biggest reason for MPB. Because the chemical dihydrotestosterone, which is produced by male testosterone, is responsible for the abrupt functioning of hair follicles, many men believe that getting bald makes men virile. However, it is only a myth, there is no truth in it.
What Is The Solution?
Do not give up to the bad habits. Get set go today!! Maintain a balanced diet, make healthy lifestyle choices, and go for regular check ups. You will notice the positive impact soon. The tips below will help you stay young and healthy for long.
- Listen to Your Body: take good care of your body, pay attention to the changes you notice in your body, alert your doctor at the right time.
- Know About Your Family History: Family history affects the chances of cancer, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular issues. Talk to your parents, your family doctor and take a note of the health issues concerning the family.
- Stop Smoking: smoking does only harm and no good. Smokers in the age group of 30-40 have higher chances of getting a heart stroke. It is the biggest culprit for lung cancer.
- Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: be physically active, eat a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet, indulge in moderate form of exercise. Take stairs instead of the lift, go for a walk after lunch. Eat foods low in trans fats, include more veggies and fruits, choose healthy protein. Eata variety of food so that you get all the required nutrients.
- Keep a Check on Your Weight: keep a close watch on the BMI. Being overweight puts you at risk for chronic health problems like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular issues, and even cancer.
- Consume Alcohol in Moderation: do not abstain from alcohol completely, but consume it in moderation. Follow the govt. guidelines, which say men should not drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol in a day with two days off in a week.
- Learn to Manage Your Stress: this is probably difficult. However, find time for your hobbies. Listen to your favorite music, spend time in gardening, play your favorite sport. The crux is to spend time in an activity, which relaxes your body, mind and soul.
- Have a Good Night Sleep: quality sleep is important for a healthy living. A good sleep not only refreshes you, but also improves your body’s metabolism, boost your body’s immunity and help you deal with stress. Try to sleep and get up every day around the same time.