Many Australian men do not look after their own health very well.
They tend to avoid or delay regular health checks and their health is often poorer than that of women the same age.
Men can often improve their health with changes to diet, exercise and other lifestyle habits.
Bowel cancer – more common in men than women. Risk increases over the age of 50 years.
Depression – depression affects about 1 in 6 Australian men, and men are more likely to suicide than women. Men often do not recognise the symptoms of depression and so do not seek help.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) – ED,or impotence, means being unable to get and/or keep an erection that allows sexual intercourse. ED is common,but most men do not like to talk about it with their doctor. Some medical conditions can lead to ED (e.g. diabetes,obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, Parkinson’s disease). Drinking too much alcohol, smoking, stress and some medicines can also cause ED.
Heart disease – men are more likely to die from heart disease than women. Risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and overweight, which are more common in men.
Low testosterone – testosterone is a male sex hormone. A low testosterone level can be caused by disorders of the testes or pituitary gland, or other health problems (e.g. obesity). Testosterone levels also fall as men age. Symptoms of low testosterone include being tired, feeling irritable and less sex drive.
Male pattern hair loss (baldness) – causes some men great distress.
Prostate disease – more common in older men. The three main prostate problems are: • benign prostatic hyperplasia/hypertrophy (BPH) – the prostate gland gets bigger and affects urine flow • prostate cancer • prostatitis – prostate becomes sore and swollen, usually due to infection.
Testicular cancer – more common in younger men, but can occur at any age. May cause a hard lump, swelling or pain in a testicle.
Alcohol – more men than women drink harmful amounts of alcohol, which increases the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, sexual problems, depression, accidents and violence.
Being overweight – around 2 in 3 Australian men are overweight, increasing their risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, osteoarthritis and some cancers.
Smoking – more men than women smoke and die from smoking-related illnesses (e.g. cancer, heart disease, airways disease).
Physical activity – many men do not get enough exercise. Regular exercise helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and control weight. It can also help relieve stress, improve sleep and improve feelings of well-being.
• Don’t smoke.
• Limit alcohol to no more than two standard drinks in one day.
• Exercise at a moderate level for at least 30 minutes on all or most days of the week.
• Eat regular, healthy meals, including plenty of fruits, vegetables and wholegrain foods. Limit foods high in fat, sugar or salt.
• Keep to a healthy weight.
• Drink enough water every day to satisfy your thirst and to keep your urine ‘light-coloured’ (unless a doctor advises not to).
• Learn and use relaxation techniques to manage stress.
• Talk about problems with someone you trust – a friend, relative or health professional.