Top 5 Health Issues Affecting Men

August 25, 2011, 10:01 am Andrew Cate Blackmores

The importance of men's health can often take a backseat to women's health. Here are the five key health issues affecting the modern man.

Top 5 Health Issues Affecting Men
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1. Waist management

Men tend to store fat around their tummy, which may be associated with a higher risk of illness and disease. It seems that where you carry your weight is more important than just what you weigh. A trimmer, leaner abdomen is an important health and fitness goal for all men.

How to maintain a healthy weight

Develop a lifestyle plan that helps you lose body fat or maintain it at a healthy level. This should include consistent and regular participation in physical activity such as strength training, interval training, as well as cardiovascular exercise such as walking, cycling or jogging that elevate your heart rate.

Combine this with a healthy eating plan that focuses on reducing your kilojoule intake by controlling portion sizes, cutting back on processed foods and sugar laden drinks, consuming alcohol in moderation, and eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

2. Heart health

Australian men are more likely to get sick from serious health problems, and men are more likely to suffer from poor heart health. Important markers for men to keep an eye on include blood pressure, blood cholesterol (including the ratio of good and bad cholesterol), fasting blood glucose levels and resting heart rate.

Pay extra attention to heart health if you have a family history of heart disease.

How to keep your heart healthy

Fortunately, heart disease – a leading threat to men’s health – is largely preventable. Healthy lifestyle factors such as a good diet, regular physical activity and a healthy level of body fat are a no brainer. But it’s also important to avoid tobacco smoke, limit your alcohol intake and manage stress for optimal heart health.

3. Mental health

Modern society places a number of psychosocial pressures on men, including changing social, economic and family roles. There’s also an assumption that men should 'tough it out' in the face of injury or hardship, which might explain why men are generally less likely than women to seek medical treatment of any kind.

Yet issues such as separation, divorce and unemployment are thought to impact more upon men than women, and men are more likely to resort to destructive behaviour, such as drug and alcohol abuse when dealing with serious mental health issues.

How to avoid mental health issues

Develop social networks that foster open communication, and be aware of the mental health services available to you should troubles begin to surface

4. Prostate health

The prostate is a small gland that can become enlarged as men get older, resulting in urinary and sexual difficulties that can impact upon quality of life. An enlarged prostate is also known as benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). Some common symptoms of BPH include frequent night urination, difficulty in starting and finishing urination, and a weak urinary flow.

How to look after your prostate

It’s important to monitor changes in your urinary habits as you get older, and see your healthcare professional if things don’t seem right. Be sure to eat a healthy diet, especially a diet rich in colourful fruits and vegetables.

5. Fertility

Some men may not think about their fertility until they start planning a family, but an unhealthy lifestyle may reduce the chances of conception. About one in five couples with fertility problems are because of issues on the male side.

What to do for healthy fertility

Living a healthy lifestyle is very important for men if they are trying to conceive. Maintaining a healthy body weight, eating a healthy diet, being physically active on a regular basis, drinking alcohol in moderation and avoiding cigarette smoke are all important for sexual function and fertility. Try avoiding very hot baths or long spas to help keep the testicles cool and produce good quality sperm.

For free training tools and expert advice from Blackmores’ team of trainers, physios and naturopaths, visit the official Blackmores Sydney Running Festival training website.

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