Six common men’s health problems and what to do about them – from erectile dysfunction to mental health

Being a man is bad for your health. Or so Jeff Foster says – and as a GP, male health specialist and a man himself he should know.

“Compared to women, men not only have a greater chance of contracting almost any disease, but they also die faster,” says Foster, author of the new book Man Alive: The Health Problems Men Face and how to fix them.

Part of the problem, he says, stems from the fact that men, when they grow up, are “generally encouraged to avoid taking care of their health” – despite the abundance of self-help books designed to help them with getting six-pack abdominal muscles and body of an Adonis.

“But men’s health is more than looking good,” Foster points out. “As children, we are told not to ‘cry like a girl’ and ‘man up!’, And this internalization of health problems continues as we develop. As adults, men now live in a confusing society where we are expected to see hard looking, have big beard and appear masculine but at the same time are happy to cry and open up about our weaknesses and fears.

“Men are conditioned to develop health practices and habits that increase their risk of disease and make it harder for them to seek medical attention when they need it.” However, this does not have to be the case. “Poor health is not inevitable for men. The key is to give men the knowledge they need to understand their own body and mind.”

Here, Foster outlines six ordinary men’s health problems and how to deal with them …

1. Testosterone deficiency or ‘menopause’

“Nearly one million men are affected by low testosterone levels, and the number is increasing every year. Testosterone deficiency, also known as andropause or ‘menopause’, mimics many of the symptoms seen in female menopause. However, it can affect men aged 30-90 years, it is not guaranteed that all men will get it, and for a large number affected, the symptoms trivialize or are simply assumed to work for hard or mid-term crisis.

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Symptoms include fatigue, falling asleep late in the day, decreased libido, increased body fat / decreased muscle, poor concentration / brain fog and being more irritable. In the later stages, men may also suffer from night sweats, changes in cholesterol and blood pressure, diabetes risk and osteoporosis (bone thinning).

“Diagnosis is made via a simple blood test, which must be interpreted correctly and in connection with the patient as a whole. Treatment involves addressing the cause or going on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), which, when used properly, can be life-changing, reduce the risk of other serious medical problems, improve quality of life and can save jobs, marriages and families. ”

2. Mental health

“About one in eight men in the UK will at some point suffer from mental health issues, and globally the suicide rate remains higher in men. Male attitudes towards mental health remain resistant to change, and although I now see plenty of younger men with depression or anxiety symptoms, it is still rare to hear a man over the age of 40 talk about his mental health.

“The reason for this is a combination of social, psychological and hormonal pressures that result in many men not opening up about their mental problems. But even though it’s an uphill battle, there are things we can do. The first things are not to assume that all mental problems are psychological.Different medical problems can result in changes in the way we think and should be controlled.

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“Secondly, and most importantly, we need to start opening up. It does not necessarily have to be with a doctor, but even a friend or anyone we can open up to. Of course, there are medications, talk therapy and a number of other options available, but the key to changing male mental health is to give men the tools and the social acceptance to be able to say, ‘It’s okay to cry.’

3. Prostate disease

“It is said that if we live long enough, all men will eventually have some degree of prostate cancer. It is the most common cancer in men, accounting for a quarter of all cancers. But despite this, we have no national screening program.We can do prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests, but when taken in isolation, they are often useless.We are able to diagnose and monitor the cancers that are mild and often do not require aggressive treatment, but we miss or can do little for those who are growing and spreading fast.

“There are things you can do to reduce your risk of prostate cancer, including avoiding obesity, exercising regularly, avoiding excess calcium, considering taking vitamin D and getting a regular health check.”

4. Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

“About half of men suffer from ED at some point, but it is still taboo. Men get ED for a reason; it may be due to neurological or metabolic causes (such as diabetes), anxiety or stress, hormone deficiency or narrowing of the blood supply to In fact, this last cause is so important that it is accepted that if you have a vascular cause of ED, you have about three years until it affects your heart (which results in a heart attack) .Penis is a barometer of health. Pills like Viagra can be extremely effective in treating ED, but only if you know the underlying cause. “

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5. Cardiovascular health and obesity

(Alamy / PA)

“Even with all the information available on fitness, nutrition and wellness, obesity levels in men continue to rise every year. As a result, men have a higher incidence of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. When it comes to long-term sustainable weight loss, the best advice is to avoid diets that limit certain foods (paleo, keto) and those that radically reduce calories – we just do not know the effects on long-term health.

“When it comes to exercise, it’s much simpler: everyone should do it. There is no single best form of exercise, but we are not built to be sedentary, and exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of virtually any medical condition. condition.”

6. Hair loss and beard growth

“This seems like a strange topic to include, but both baldness and beard growth are increasingly being linked as major causes of anxiety and depression in men. We are asked to just accept being bald, but it can really affect a person’s identity and The problem also applies to beard growth, where ‘beard anxiety’ is often seen in younger men who strive to have a thick, bushy beard as their celebrity idols. As a result, the market for lotions and pills that claim to help hair growth is huge, “But most of it is nonsense. There are well-established and evidence-based treatments available for hair loss and hair growth, but always talk to a doctor to find the right one for you.”

(Piakatus / PA)

Man Alive: The Health Problems Men Face And How To Fix Them by Dr. Jeff Foster is published by Piatkus at a price of £ 14.99. Available now.

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