November is Men’s Health Awareness Month. Men’s Health Awareness Month is dedicated to heightening the awareness of preventable health problems and encouraging early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.
It is important for you as a man to prioritize your health. Men are often less likely to seek healthcare than women, reasons for this can be a socially complex stigma that men are weak for seeking medical help or it can be that men generally feel they are too busy. Having accessible and up-to-date resources is key to making informed decisions about your health.
Some of the most prevalent ailments in men:
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) refer to several types of heart conditions, including coronary artery disease and heart attack. With over 31% of men in South Africa being overweight or obese, there is a correlation with raised blood pressure which in itself poses a risk of developing other health-related complications.
One in two men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Prostate cancer has a high prevalence amongst men along with skin cancer. Men over 50 have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer.
Urologists recommend men aged 40 and above to undergo a prostate exam yearly if they have a family history or personal history of prostate cancer. If you are over 50, your doctor will guide you with regards to how frequently you should be going for a test.
Testicular cancer is more common between the age groups of 15-49 years old. It is advised that men ages 15 to 55 perform a monthly self-examination to find any changes. Monthly testicular self-examinations, performed after a warm shower, can help find the cancer at an early stage.
Masculinity can be a barrier to seeking help for mental illnesses. Mental illness conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, psychosis and schizophrenia are common amongst men but often tend to go undiagnosed in comparison to in women.
The scarcity of mental health assistance amongst men is South Africa is severe. Unfortunately, however severe it may be, it is often ignored, as attitudes and stigma toward mental health persist. We need to break the barriers to accessing mental health care within the male population.
If you want to educate yourself on signs, symptoms and behavioural changes associated with different mental illnesses, please follow the link below.
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group can be contacted on 011 234 4837. Or you can visit this link for more information https://www.sadag.org