It’s estimated that men visit their GP half as much as women do. So, with men much more likely to avoid seeking medical advice, what changes should they be looking out for as they age? As part of Men’s Health Week 2022, we have put together a guide to help you care for your health as you age. Let’s dive in.
Men’s Health: What to Look Out For in Your 20s and 30s
Decisions made and actions taken during this time can have a very real impact on men’s health in later life. Here’s what you should look out for:
Check for lumps every month and make a face-to-face appointment with your GP if you find anything new or concerning. The earlier testicular cancer is found, the more effective the treatment.
You should use a high-protection SPF every day, even if it’s not sunny outside. Try to opt for SPF that protects against UVA and UVB rays. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), we should use 1 ounce (1 shot glass) of SPF for the entire body. They also recommend topping up every 2 hours if you’re spending time in direct sunlight, and reapplying after swimming.
To protect the scalp from the sun’s potentially harmful rays, you should always wear a wide-brimmed hat when out and about. This will help protect the scalp, the forehead, the ears and the back of your neck. These areas are very vulnerable to sun damage over time and are common sites for skin lesions, including skin cancers, to develop. If you are bald, you should always apply SPF to the scalp for protection from the sun.
If you’re sexually active, it’s a good idea to get regularly tested for STIs. Early detection of STIs helps to prevent the unintentional spread of infections and it means you can get treatment if needed. The earlier STIs are treated the better! Webdoctor.ie’s STI Home Test Kits make regular testing simple and easy.
Care for your mental health by practising self-care and stress management techniques. Men’s mental health should be prioritised and one shouldn’t ignore the pressures brought about by your job, financial independence, and increased responsibilities. If you feel like you’re struggling with your mental health, reach out to a trusted friend, a family member or speak to your GP. Here you can find more resources for men’s mental health in Ireland.
Adopting healthy eating and good exercise habits early in life is very beneficial. Being overweight increases your risk of developing medical conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease.
Men’s Health: What to Look Out For in Your 40s and 50s
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is fundamental to staying well both mentally and physically. Going easy on the alcohol and not smoking will also help keep you fighting fit. Here’s what you should look out for.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is when it is difficult for a man to get or keep an erection firm enough for penetrative sex. It is a common problem and happens to most men from time to time, especially if you’re feeling tired, stressed or you have consumed too much alcohol. However, if it becomes recurring or persistent, it can lead to stress and have a negative impact on your confidence. ED can be the first symptom of a more serious underlying medical condition, so it’s wise to seek medical advice if it is recurring or persisting.
The risk of having heart disease, including heart attacks, increases as men age, and starts to become more common when you are in your 50s. You should seek urgent medical advice if you start to experience chest pains or tightness, abnormal heartbeats or acute shortness of breath.
You should get your blood pressure checked regularly. Once men hit 45, the risk of high blood pressure starts to increase. This can lead to potentially serious health problems. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. High cholesterol is another risk factor for these conditions. If you know your cholesterol levels, an overall cardiovascular risk assessment can be made to determine if you should consider lifestyle interventions or medical treatment to manage your cholesterol levels. Webdoctor.ie’s Cholesterol Home Test Kits can help with this.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. If detected early, it can be treated and in many cases cured. Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA), is a protein produced by both cancerous and non-cancerous tissue in the gland. Raised levels may be a sign of prostate disease, including prostate cancer. It is worth noting that there are many causes of a raised PSA level and this does not mean that you have prostate cancer, but it is important that this is followed up with your doctor. It is usually the pattern of the PSA levels, taken over time, that is important rather than a once-off blood test result.
Using Webdoctor.ie’s PSA Home Test Kit, you can monitor your PSA level over time. If you have any concerns about your symptoms or you would like further information about PSA testing, you should speak directly to your GP.
Men’s Health in Your 60s and Beyond
Healthy choices made earlier in life come into play once you hit 60. Getting older means the risk of developing certain serious illnesses increases; heart attack, stroke, cancers, arthritis, and type 2 diabetes are more prevalent in older men. Here’s what you should look out for:
There are not usually any symptoms of osteoporosis and the condition is usually identified when you have a fracture. However, there are many things that you can do to help maintain good bone health.
Firstly, you can make simple changes to your diet. Make sure you get enough calcium and protein as they are key nutrients for good bone health. Vitamin D is also important so try to get out in the fresh air for at least 15 minutes a day (don’t forget to wear SPF!). Getting enough Vitamin D can be difficult in Ireland, but you can boost your intake through your diet. Oily fish, eggs, mushrooms, and fortified dairy foods and juices can all help with this.
Staying active can also help maintain good bone health. Adjust your workout routine to include regular muscle-strengthening and weight-bearing exercises. Maintaining a healthy body weight is also important for good bone health. For instance, being too thin (BMI under 19) can be damaging to your bone health. We also recommend you avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
You should get screened for cancers periodically. The average age for men to get prostate cancer is between 65 and 69. Many other types of cancer also become more prevalent among men in this age group.
Dementia affects a person’s memory, thinking, concentration, and perception and can have a significant impact on those around them. There are medications and treatments available that can help to stabilise symptoms during the early stages of dementia, so a detailed assessment from a specialist is essential.
Webdoctor.ie, Caring for Men’s Health at Every Age
Here at Webdoctor.ie, we offer a range of general health and men’s health treatments. Request prescriptions, check on your health with Home Test Kits, or speak to a GP about your health concerns via online video consultation.