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Convinced You’re a Healthy Man? Think Again.

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by the team at Speedoc, December 5, 2019

For many men, health is synonymous with fitness. It is common to associate good health with going to the gym to lift weights and clock in sufficient cardiovascular exercise. 

However, there is more to well-being than being physically fit. For instance, adhering to a reasonable (but not restrictive) diet, caring for one’s mental health, having an awareness of the signs and symptoms of potential ailments and reducing the risk factors all contribute to holistic wellness. 

Unfortunately there is a common misconception that health complaints are for the weak. But the reality is that the two leading causes of death are illnesses – heart disease and cancer. So, to lead a long and productive life, it is actually essential to be proactive about your healthcare. For instance, make it a point to go for regular screenings to ensure early detection and treatment. 

It is also useful to be aware of these common men’s health risk factors so you can take the necessary precautions to reduce your chances of contracting some of the most common illnesses around. Read on to find out more.

Risk factor: Bodybuilding
Illness: High blood pressure

There are many proven health benefits to weight lifting. However, if you have a family history of high blood pressure or have been diagnosed with hypertension, be careful when you go to the gym. This is because the strain of lifting weights can temporarily increase your blood pressure, which can worsen hypertension. In such cases, do consult a doctor before embarking on any bodybuilding programme.

Risk factor: Alcohol
Illness: Liver disease, cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus and impotence

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men are twice as likely to binge drink compared to women, which leads to a higher likelihood of alcohol-related death or hospitalisation. Studies have also found that the long term binge drinking of alcohol, which refers to five drinks or more in a single session, can also lead to an increased risk of liver disease and other cancers as well as infertility and impotence. 

While drinking alcohol is a pleasurable social activity, regular imbibing over time might cause drinkers to develop a dependence on alcohol, hence leading to these health problems. Nip these problems in the bud by keeping track of your drinking so you don’t end up bingeing without realising it.

Risk factor: High cholesterol food
Illness: Heart disease

Saturated fat, which is found mostly in animal-based food such as fatty meats, butter and processed foods contain LDLs or low-density lipoproteins which raise your cholesterol levels. These fats accumulate in the arteries, leading to an increased risk in heart disease including stroke and heart attack. As a guide, the Singapore Heart Foundation advises the average healthy adult to maintain an LDL cholesterol level of under 130mg/dl.

To control your cholesterol level, eat a heart-healthy diet comprising leafy green vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, nuts and berries. These days, with so many salad and grain bowl eateries offering these options, it shouldn’t be too difficult to eat well too!

Risk factor: Smoking
Illness: Respiratory diseases

Men are more prone to smoking than women, which puts them at greater risk of contracting serious respiratory diseases, including lung cancer and emphysema. The American Lung Association states that men who smoke are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer.

If you have been a regular smoker for many years, we urge you to go for a scan to screen for lung diseases. Social smokers, do consider breaking the habit as soon as you can because prevention is better than cure.

Risk factor: Ultraviolet radiation
Illness: Skin cancer

Did you know there has been a growing trend of skin cancer and it affects men more than women? One possible reason is that women are more likely than men to apply sunscreen, which helps protect them from the sun’s cancer causing ultraviolet rays. Do make it a habit to use a sufficient amount of sunscreen to your exposed body parts like the face, neck and hands every day. Multiple studies have shown that daily use of an SPF15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by about 40 percent and melanoma by 50 percent. You can also wear hats with wide brims, put on sunglasses and wear long sleeves and pants to minimise direct UV exposure. 

For an overview of what your individual risk factors are and what you can do to stay healthy, you can easily schedule an annual check-up with Speedoc’s doctors-on-call service. Our doctors will visit your at a location and time at your convenience, 24/7. 

Better yet, be the change that the world needs. Get our Speedoctors to visit your office to conduct health check-ups for the entire office – both men and women. It’s time to debunk the myth that caring for your health is a sign of weakness. 


Sources:

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

[2]  American Cancer Society

[3] Alcohol Health Res World

[4] Singapore Heart Foundation

[5] American Lung Association

[6] Skin Cancer Foundation

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