Systematic Approach to Men’s Health
Irrespective of the part of the world they live in, men visit doctors less often and pay less attention to prevention, according to the findings of WHO in 2019. This approach leads to sad consequences as, according to statistics, men live shorter lives than women. So, let’s find out which health aspects should be considered, particularly by men, even in the absence of symptoms.
The good news is that according to research by The Lancet, the total life expectancy in Northern Europe is now higher than in other parts of the world. For example, in Finland and Denmark, men live 79 years, in Norway — 80.5 years, and in Sweden — 80.8 years. In other countries, this figure is much lower, making 70.8 years.Meanwhile, the main risk factors for men from Scandinavia are the same as in other countries and include smoking, alcohol consumption, as well as neglecting mental and physical health. Compared to women, men of Northern Europe suffer more often from coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and diabetes, and they are getting injured more frequently.
After 40: consultations and prevention
Cholesterol needs to be watched. Even without obvious health problems and risk factors (for example, susceptibility to genetic diseases), the cholesterol levels should be checked every 4-6 years. The cholesterol levels don’t increase at once, and it’s better to diagnose it and take measures at an earlier stage to protect your blood vessels and heart. The doctor can help to identify the moment when such measures shall be taken as well as their frequency.
Checking blood pressure can be done at home only if there is no reason to worry about it. Men over 40 suffering from high blood pressure and extra weight should visit a doctor to check their blood pressure at least once a year. The blood sugar levels should be checked as well since extra weight is one of the serious risk factors for the development of Type 2 diabetes in men over 40.At the same time, you would need a regular ECG test only if there are risk factors or symptoms of coronary heart disease, such as retrosternal pain, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, and sweating.
After 50: add CT screening
Long-time smokers and those who quit smoking 15 years ago are recommended to have preventive screening, like a low-dose CT scan, which can help to detect lung cancer at an early stage. The length of smoking becomes a risk factor when its index equals or exceeds 30. The index is calculated by multiplying the number of years of smoking by the number of cigarette packs per day.
Men over 55 should do a colonoscopy, which is another essential screening to detect colorectal cancer.
What you can do on your own
Treat your health with the utmost care. Reconsider your diet — cut on sugar, and add not less than five servings of vegetables or fruits per day. Quit smoking, control alcohol intake, and add at least 150 minutes of physical exercise per week. You should change your lifestyle gradually as stress is hazardous for men’s health, making the body more prone to infections and influencing testosterone metabolism, which may cause low libido and erectile dysfunction. Insomnia can be another factor affecting your stress level, so in this case, the recommendations for men are the same as for women in any part of the world: have a regular sleep schedule, avoid overeating and stick to a healthy lifestyle because science has not offered a better cure so far.
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