Calling all men! The stats are in and men’s health week means it’s time to grab a beer (or a kombucha, for the modern-day male) and ponder upon them.
They’re telling us that men are taking a reactive approach to their health. And considering the typical proactive maintenance of vehicle fluids, household gutters, and tyre pressures, frankly – we are in shock.
Worldwide, statistics show that the life expectancy of men is significantly lower than women, and Australia is no exception. Furthermore, the culprits of this reduction in life expectancy are mostly preventable diseases. C’mon lads!
Now, as much as we could just nag (we promise we do it because we care) we always try to adopt a helpful stance. So, as a man, what should you look out for? And how can we really take advantage of the “prevent” part of “preventable” disease?
Increasing Your Screen Time…
Now that’s not advice we give often! But we’re not talking about scrolling through Reddit. Statistics say that in Australia, 1 of 2 males will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85. The most prevalent cancers for Australian males being prostate, colorectal and lung, in that order. Almost 20,000 cases of prostate cancer alone were diagnosed in 2021 with a catastrophic 3,500 deaths. Although cancer remains the villain it has always been, the good news is that screening processes are improving and becoming more accessible every year.
Despite the accessibility, numbers show that up to 61% of Australian men do not keep up with regular health check-ups. So our best advice in the cancer space – don’t find yourself adding to this statistic. If you are over 50 or over 40 with any family history of cancer, it’s even more important. Make that appointment boys. In fact, why not do it right now?
Show Some Love To Your Heart
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a collective term that refers to conditions involving the heart and blood vessels – most drastically referring to strokes and heart attacks, but also the factors that lead to both. This is a space where men are affected significantly more than women, experiencing 40% more deaths each year from CVD. Not only that, but men typically develop cardiovascular conditions earlier in life.
Our previous point around health check-ups (… have you booked yet?) remains at the top of the list when facing the prospect of CVD. Keeping track of your blood pressure and blood lipids (cholesterol) is a straightforward way to stay one step ahead. Beyond staying in touch with your doctor however, there are also a number of lifestyle factors you can consider. Regular exercise, good nutrition, and the limitation of harmful habits (smoking, alcohol consumption, and stress!) are just some of the fully controllable actions you can take.
The “Men” in Mental Health
This wouldn’t be an all-encompassing lesson on men’s health without talking about mental health. We need to talk about it, even more so than usual because according to research, it’s harder for men to do just that. Compared to women, men are 30% less likely to seek help for mental health challenges. In Australia, 1 in 2 males have experienced a mental health problem in their lifetime and almost 20% of men have had, or do have, a mental health diagnosis lasting 6 months or longer.
Of course, talking about mental health struggles is the single most beneficial thing you can do for your mental health. Whether it’s with your doctor, friends, family or a complete stranger (for example, the team at mensline), we encourage you to take that step in lightening whatever load you are carrying. Not only will it help your situation, but it will also aid in breaking the stigma that causes many men to carry these loads alone.
Speaking of carrying loads, we wouldn’t be exercise physiologists without recommending exercise in the mental health space as well – whether it’s boxing, walking, sport or well, any type of movement really… The research is nothing but conclusive regarding the benefits of getting a sweat up for your mental health.
We MEN’t it!
Book those regular health check-ups. Take a step towards some heart-healthy habits. Really talk to your friends. And of course, touch base with us for all of your exercise-related needs! We promise that in the long run, it will be well worth your while.
- Australian Government – Department of Health. (2019). National men’s health strategy 2020–2030.https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021/05/national-men-s-health-strategy-2020-2030.pdf
- Schlichthorst, M., Sanci, L. A., Pirkis, J., Spittal, M. J., & Hocking, J. S. (2016). Why do men go to the doctor? Socio-demographic and lifestyle factors associated with healthcare utilisation among a cohort of Australian men. BMC Public Health, 16(S3). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-016-3706-5
- Australian Government – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2019). The health of Australia’s males. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/men-women/male-health/contents/how-healthy/chronic-conditions
- Heart Foundation Australia. (2020). Key Statistics: Cardiovascular Disease | The Heart Foundation. Retrieved 2022, from https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/activities-finding-or-opinion/key-stats-cardiovascular-disease
Author: Tessa Nielsen Clinical Exercise Physiologist and Content Creator at Specialised Health
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