Men’s Health: Doctor reveals health issues that are seen more commonly in men and shares tips to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, colo-rectal cancer, lung cancer, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes in men
The average lifespan for men in India has significantly improved in the last 50 years and it has gone up to 69.89 years from 41.42 years in 1960 but the average lifespan of Indian men is still much lower as compared to that in many other countries. In the recent past there have also been multiple instances of sudden death in young men while exercising or working out.
Today, life is much more stressful and it is hard to find time for oneself and just like women, many times even men tend to neglect their health problems but a sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits, excessive alcohol intake, smoking and stress can affect one’s overall well-being. Health experts insist that it is important for men of all ages to consciously take care of their health.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Aparna Govil Bhasker, Bariatric and Laparoscopic surgeon at Saifee, Apollo Spectra, Namaha and Currae Hospitals in Mumbai, asserted, “Not only must they follow a healthy lifestyle, they must also be aware of the various health issues that can affect them.” She highlighted the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle and revealed some of the health issues that are seen more commonly in men
· Prostate cancer: This is one of the commonest cancers seen in men. The chances of prostrate cancer increase with age. Men can choose to undergo screening for prostrate cancer. A serum PSA test along with a digital rectal examination form a part of the screening.
· Colo-rectal cancer: Colo-rectal cancer is common in men. Obesity, sedentary life-style, a diet high in red and processed meats, smoking, heavy alcohol use, older age-group, and a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps are some of the contributing factors for developing colo-rectal cancer. Regular screening from the age of 45 years can help to early detection of these cancers. Especially men in the high-risk groups and those with a family history must be more careful and diligent about screening tests. Screening tests include stool tests, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy and other imaging tests like CT scan etc. You can consult your family doctor who can guide you further about it.
· Lung Cancer: Lung cancer is also more common in men as compared to women. Smoking is one of the leading causes for lung cancer. One must stop smoking immediately to reduce the risk of developing lung cancer.
· Heart disease, hypertension and diabetes: The average age for getting a heart attack has come down by 20 years in India. 25% of heart attacks are seen in men under 40 years of age now. Certain factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, family history, diabetes, stress, high cholesterol, and alcohol consumption can lead to a heart attack or stroke in men. Indians also have a higher body fat percentage, thus making them more prone to cardio-vascular events and diabetes at a much lower weight and BMI.
To reduce the risk of above-mentioned health issues, Dr Aparna Govil Bhasker advised the following tips for men to take more care of themselves -
· Having a family doctor: Many times, men fail to seek timely medical intervention and suffer in silence. It is advisable to have a family doctor who can guide you from time to time about your health. It is important to stay in touch with the doctor and follow her/his advice regarding screening and check-ups.
· Annual health check-ups: They are a must for men of all age groups. These check-ups will let you know about your health status. In case any abnormality is found it can be addressed at the earliest.
· Follow a healthy life-style: Try to stick to eating fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, lentils, nuts and seeds. Drink enough water and give up on junk, processed, canned foods, and sweets. Avoid smoking and alcohol.
· Get moving: It is advisable to do moderate physical activity for 45 minutes for atleast 5 days in a week. This depends on the person’s physical condition as well. It is recommended to maintain a healthy body weight and that goes a long way to prevent many diseases.
· Keep stress at bay: Life has become very fast moving nowadays and everyone is trying to make ends meet. However, do try to find some time for yourself and indulge in some destressing activities like meditation, yoga, sports etc.
· Maintain a good sleep hygiene: It is important to maintain the circadian rhythm of the body. One must not only sleep for 7 to 8 hours every night but also maintain good sleep timing.