MEN’S health can be a taboo subject. In fact, fewer men than women go to the doctors to get themselves checked out.
Middle-aged men are twice as likely to have diabetes as women in Singapore. The majority of adults with self-reported diabetes were men (53.3%) according 2016 Singapore Statistics.
ONE: Prevention is key
If you are aged between 40 and 74 you should go for a routine Health Check every five years.
These checks not only measure your risk they also are there to offer advice on how to prevent problems.
They can pick up on early signs of conditions including heart disease, strokes, kidney disease and dementia – our risk of which all increase with age.
Once you have had your check-up a health professional will talk you through any treatments or lifestyle measures you should make.
TWO: You can eat yourself healthier
“Whilst no single food is going to reduce the risk of disease, there are three key ones that men should regularly include in their diet”, says Rob Hobson Healthspan Head of Nutrition:
Salmon: Omega 3 fats in oily fish can help reduce the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of premature death in men in the UK. Factors affecting the risk of heart disease are also closely associated with erectile dysfunction.
Eat one or two servings a week or take a supplement like Byherbs Bumi Plus.
Steak: Lean beef steak is rich in zinc – a mineral which has many functions in the body such as the immune system, cell growth and male fertility.
Zinc has also been associated with good prostate health.
A steak will provide you with most of your daily recommended intake of zinc.
Not for everyday though – other sources include seeds, green vegetables, pulses, nuts, mushrooms and shellfish.
Red peppers: These are one of the richest sources of vitamin C and also include lycopene (an antioxidant pigment that can help reduce cell damage).
Lycopene and vitamin C have been associated with good prostate health.
Include as one of your five a day.
A steak will provide you with most of your daily recommended intake of zinc
THREE: Watch that middle-aged middle
“One condition that is important to check for particularly as you hit your 40s”, says Kate Taylor, Pharmacist at Lloyds Pharmacy, “is Type 2 Diabetes – which left untreated can lead to serious health problems. If identified early and correctly managed people can maintain a healthy lifestyle and in some cases even reverse the condition.”
Kate points out one of the factors that puts men at increased risk is a waist measurement of 37 inches or above – so keep an eye on that belly.
Losing just 4cm from your waist can help.
FOUR: Get your head around mental health issues
A 2016 survey for the Men’s Health Forum found the majority of men said whereas they would take time off work to deal with a worrying physical symptom less than one in five would do the same over concerns about their mental health.
Over a third waited over two years to even confide in a friend or family member.
With the help of some high-profile men including Prince Harry (who has helped set up mental health charity Heads Together), Stephen Fry and Zayn Malik and initiatives like time to change the stigma around mental health appears to be changing as we are encouraged to be more open and supportive of the one in four men fighting a mental health condition.
FIVE: You can improve your fertility
Dr Pixie McKenna, GP and Health & Well-being Ambassador for Superdrug, said: “Sperm counts are declining and lifestyle factors can compromise male reproductive health.
“Being overweight and having a poor diet, smoking, drinking, recreational drug use can all impact on a man’s fertility as can any undiagnosed sexual infection. This can lead to problems as more and more couples are having babies later in life.
“To optimise your sperm count try to keep generally healthy. You could also take a home sperm count test but do allow around four months after making relevant lifestyle changes to see improvements.
“Research also shows supplements that include L-Carnitine and selenium can have a positive impact on sperm quality.’
Men over 50 who have had a fracture should consider having their bone density measured
POINT SIX: Bone up on bone health
It’s long been seen as a ‘women’s issue’ but Professor David Reid, Consultant Rheumatologist and Osteoporosis Specialist at 25 Harley Street explained that men over 50 who have had a fracture or have a family history of osteoporosis should consider having their bone density measured to assess their risk.
He told Express.co.uk: “If bone density is found to be low there are self-help measures men can take including stopping smoking, drinking less alcohol, getting enough calcium in their diet (a pint of milk rather than beer…) and keep vitamin D levels topped up by 20 minutes of daily exposure to sunlight or take a supplement.”
POINT SEVEN: You can get fitter in 10 minutes
Celebrity personal trainer, Nicola Addison, at London’s EQVVS Training said: “No matter how unfit you are, there is always someone un-fitter! The hardest part is getting motivated to exercise.
“My advice is start by walking and walk every day. Build up from 10 minutes a day to three slots of 10 minutes daily to 30 continuous minutes.
“When you can do this comfortably, try incorporating more flexibility exercises like squats and the plank.”