Men are much less likely to visit the doctor with emotional health and wellbeing problems. Living with these problems doesn’t only have an effect on your quality of life - it can also make it more difficult to offer treatment when men do decide it’s time to visit their GP.
This Men’s Health Week is focusing on diabetes, a problem which affects a growing number of men.
10% of men now suffer from diabetes and experts expect the risk of diabetes will rise significantly over the next two decades as the rate of obesity rises.
But it doesn’t have to be that way - taking good care of yourself, watching what you eat and maybe making some subtle changes to how you live can significantly reduce your risk of diabetes and other common health problems.
We spoke to Dr Rupa Parmar - lead GP at our clinic on Edmund Street in Birmingham - about the six most common health problems men might experience, and what you can do to reduce the risk and make sure you don’t just get well, but stay well too.
Mental health problems
Mental health problems are the number one risk for men, with stress, depression and anxiety, combined with a reluctance to ask for help, making suicide the biggest killer of men under 45.
1 in 8 men will experience one of the common emotional wellbeing problems each year (Men's Health Forum). The sooner you talk to someone who can help, the sooner you can start getting back to feeling like the best version of yourself.
Our emotional wellbeing guide has advice and information about some of the emotional difficulties people experience and the pressures we face that are causing us to become more stressed and more prone to mental health problems.
But if you are struggling with your emotional wellbeing, speak to a professional. We’ve a range of experts at Virgin Care Private offering psychotherapy, counselling sessions and talking therapies like CBT which are proven to help reduce the symptoms and help you feel your best.
Men are much more likely to ignore early warning signs of any illness but chest pains and shortness of breath are warning signs none of us should ignore, particularly as men are also at a heightened risk of strokes and heart attacks.
With obesity on the rise, and your family history to consider, you could be at more risk than you realise. Watching your diet, doing a little exercise and getting any potential problems checked out by a doctor with a full Well Man Check-up can bring you peace of mind that you’re OK - and that you and your GP are working on a treatment plan to help you get well if you need it.
Sexual health problems can be silent. As well as passing on diseases like Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia, there are long-term risks too: some STIs can lead to infertility, severe illness or even death if left untreated.
If you spot a symptom, get yourself checked. You should also be popping by for a test after every new partner or every 12 months (whichever comes sooner).
And what’s more, with ‘instant’ testing now taking less than half an hour, you can get peace of mind without interupting your schedule.
Erectile dysfunctionThis one is more common than you’d think too, and it can be a side effect of diabetes too. There’s a whole range of causes for erectile dysfunction: whether it’s psychological or physical, asking for help from a professional as soon as possible will set you on the road to getting things sorted out.
CancersBoth younger men and older men are at risk from male-specific cancer, so be on the lookout for warning signs - lumps, bumps and changes - and get them checked out as soon as you can. Men often wait before seeking help, but that can make things more difficult to treat.
While everyone’s at risk, younger men are at more risk of testicular cancer while older men are more likely to suffer from prostate cancers.
Both are treatable if they’re caught early enough. If you're looking for peace of mind a PSA blood test - often included as part of well man checkups - can look for warning signs of prostate cancer.
Everyone is at risk of suffering from addictions, but men are more likely not to seek help - or not to realise they need it. Alcohol, sex, drugs, prostitutes, gambling - your doctor will have seen it all and can offer help and assistance.
Whether it’s talking therapies, counselling, or best supported with medication - the most important thing is to recognise it, and ask for help.
Everyone is different and so everyone has different experiences, risks, worries and symptoms. And for some people, those factors even change on a daily basis - but a conversation with a doctor, a psychologist or another helpful expert is the best way to get back on top of things.
We’ve a range of guides on our blog with tips from our team on living life better and we can get you in to see someone within 24 hours of your call, and slot you in after work - so there’s no hanging about for weeks for an appointment or asking the boss for time off.
What’s more, our clinic has been designed around you with great coffee, high speed Wi-Fi and space to relax before (or after) your appointment - you don’t need private medical insurance, and our services don’t cost the earth. A GP appointment starts from just £55.
So, whether you’re worried about something you’ve spotted, or something has just been playing on your mind, give us a call on 0300 247 0121 and let’s talk about how you can live, life better.