Research has shown that men tend to go to the doctor less often than women. This could be due to traditional beliefs about masculinity, or discomfort with physical examinations. What it is, avoiding the doctor won’t make the health issues go away.
This June, for Men’s Health Month, we want to highlight some of the common health challenges that affect men, and what you can do to prevent or treat these men’s health conditions.
Studies show that gender influences the types of cancers you’re susceptible to. The most common cancers experienced by males are:
- Colorectal cancer (1 in 6 male cancer cases)
- Prostate (1 in 7 male cancer cases)
- Lung (1 in 4 male cancer cases)
According to a health survey conducted by the Ministry of Health, men tend to suffer from chronic conditions more than women:
- Men are 3% more diabetic (8.3%) as compared to women (5.6%)
- Men are 2.3% more likely to have hypertension (high blood pressure) (16.8%) compared to women (14.5%)
- Men are 3.3% more likely to have hyperlipidaemia (high blood cholesterol) (15.3%) compared to women (12.0%)
Chronic conditions are primarily caused by unhealthy behaviours, such as a poor diet, a lack of physical exercise or tobacco use. It only requires simple lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of developing a chronic condition.
Start with these easy steps:
- Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into each meal
- Clock 150 minutes of physical activity weekly
- Have adequate sleep every night
On top of these lifestyle changes, going for regular screening is also essential, so that you can detect any chronic conditions early. There are different types of screenings you should attend, depending on your age; and most of them can even be done in the comfort of your own home!
While we may be embarrassed to talk about this, erectile dysfunction (ED) is more common than you think. It is estimated that 1 in 2 Singaporean men would have had ED at some point in their lifetime.
Rather than a lack of “manhood” on your part, there are many reasons for why ED can happen. An erection happens when your brain, hormones, emotions, blood vessels and muscles in your penis work together. ED thus occurs if there are any issues in any part of this process. As you age, you may also notice that an erection is more difficult to sustain.
ED may happen because of:
- Underlying health or medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart conditions
- Medication, including antihistamines or medication for high blood pressure
- Heavy tobacco or alcohol use
- Mental health issues, such as stress, anxiety or depression
Your doctor may recommend you treatment for an underlying chronic illness to prevent ED from worsening, or even reverse it.
Another treatment option is the prescription of medications like Cialis, Levitra, and Viagra, which can be effective if the cause of ED is physical or related to anxiety.
Mental Health Issues
It has been observed that men tend to be less willing to talk about their mental health issues, possibly due to the cultural stigma around mental health. While the conversation around mental health has opened up in Singapore, there may still be some hesitation about stepping forward to seek help.
Without the proper support, stress could deteriorate into more severe mental health conditions, such as chronic anxiety or depression. There’s no shame in admitting when we need help, especially given the times that we are living in.
Seeking support can be as simple as reaching out to your family members or friends to let them know the problems that you are facing. Sometimes, just having someone to talk it out with can lead to an improvement in mood.
Alternatively, you can speak to a counselling services, who are trained to help you overcome any challenges that you’re facing.
Lastly, one of the most dreaded changes as we age is probably the onset of male pattern baldness. However, hair loss in our later years is natural, and shouldn’t be feared.
There are three leading causes of hair loss: genetics, age, and hormones. Should you have first- and second-degree relatives with male pattern baldness, it’s likely that you may experience it as you age too. Doctor-prescribed hair loss medication and treatment can be effective in slowing down male-pattern hair loss and regenerating hair growth.
On the other hand, excessive hair loss may also have a more sinister reason. If you notice that you are suddenly losing a lot of hair, do make an appointment to see the doctor, to rule out any health-related causes.
We believe that healthcare for men at any age should be convenient, discrete, and accessible. Do not delay seeking medical help if you suspect something unusual with your health or are suffering from these common men health conditions. Speak to a Singapore-licensed GP doctor online anytime, on the DA app.