With International Men’s Health Week looming, we asked Dr Seth Rankin, founder of London Doctors Clinic, to give us the low down on the top 10 health risks to men. What signs symptoms should we look out for and just when should we visit the doctor? Find out below…
Depression and suicide
There is currently a male suicide epidemic sweeping across the UK, which is typically affecting 20 to 34-year-old men. There are many reasons for this but typically, men are less likely to seek support for mental health issues, which can sadly cause symptoms to escalate. Look out for a lack of energy, changes in appetite and low self-esteem, amongst other symptoms.
Depression, stress and anxiety can often lead to excess alcohol consumption because people believe it can make them feel better. It doesn’t. Aside from suffering a fuzzy head the morning after, drinking too much alcohol can lead to liver damage, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in men is rapidly on the rise. Obesity, high blood pressure and lack of exercise can increase your chances of developing it. If you’re increasingly thirsty, urinating more than usual, losing weight and feeling fatigued, speak to your GP. Type 2 diabetes can be reversible, providing you can implement positive lifestyle changes – so lay off the steak and red wine and do some exercise!
While smoking is certainly not encouraged if you’re a diabetes sufferer, it is also very unhealthy for men in general. A persistent cough (one that lasts longer than three weeks) or coughing up blood are both potential signs of a serious health issue. Men are more likely to contract lung, mouth and even throat cancer from smoking so stub it out!
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men aged 50 and over. Look out for palpitations, breathlessness and discomfort in the chest, as these are all warning signs of the disease – and, if they are left untreated, can result in strokes and heart attacks!
Erectile dysfunction is an area I regularly consult on and surprisingly it’s a health complaint which affects around 50% of men at some point in their lives! If you can’t get an erection or struggle to maintain one, don’t be embarrassed about speaking to your doctor. It’s very common and there are several options available to you including our lovely friend Viagra!
Cancer is one of the biggest killers of men in the UK and there are several types to be aware of:
We know that men are typically less health-aware than women, especially when it comes to monitoring moles! If you notice a mole changing size, shape, colour or looking inflamed or weeping, ask your GP to take a look. Early detection can be life-saving so keep an eye on your moles and freckles.
While testicular cancer is relatively rare, it is the most common form of cancer in young men (aged 20 to 35) and just over 2,000 men are diagnosed with it each year in the UK alone. If you’re concerned about any symptoms – such as a painless lump in the testicle or a dull ache in the scrotum – you should visit your GP. While there might be no issue, these symptoms are cause for rapid referral and further investigation!
Prostate cancer is on the rise and currently affects 1 in 7 men in the UK. The prostate gland is situated between the penis and bladder and problems with urinating are usually the first sign of an issue. You may experience difficulty going for a pee, increased frequency of toilet trips or difficulty emptying the bladder. If you’re worried about Prostate cancer, your doctor can perform a blood test and a prostate exam for peace of mind.
Bowel cancer (also known as colon or rectal cancer) is most common in men over 60. Bowel cancer typically affects men who are over-weight, drink, smoke and have a penchant for red meats. If you notice blood in your stools, a change in bowel habits or lower abdominal pain, seek medical advice.