Checklist for men

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - HEALTH - AWW

Nu­tri­tion Around two-thirds of adult males (aged 18 years or over) and one-quar­ter of boys (five-17 years) are over­weight or obese. Most New Zealand males need to eat more veg­eta­bles and plant-based foods, de­crease to­tal food quan­tity and elim­i­nate pro­cessed foods, specif­i­cally those with added sugar, preser­va­tives, trans fats and sat­u­rated fats.

Ex­er­cise From early child­hood to old age, reg­u­lar phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity is an es­sen­tial el­e­ment of good health. Each day, try for an hour of ac­tiv­ity such as walk­ing, swim­ming, tak­ing the stairs, yoga, ball sports, danc­ing and re­sis­tance (weight) train­ing.

Sleep Most men need around seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Look out for snor­ing, par­tic­u­larly episodes when breath­ing stops then restarts with a gasp, which may in­di­cate ob­struc­tive sleep ap­noea.

Al­co­hol Keep al­co­hol to a min­i­mum. It is a Group 1 car­cino­gen and has other ad­verse health ef­fects.

Men­tal health One in eight men will have de­pres­sion at some time in their lives. Men are less likely than women to talk about it. Sui­cide is a sig­nif­i­cant cause of death for men un­der the age of 54. For help, see your GP or check out men­tal­

Body weight Cal­cu­lat­ing your body mass in­dex (BMI) is easy to do. All you need is a set of ac­cu­rate bath scales, a tape mea­sure and a cal­cu­la­tor. BMI is cal­cu­lated by tak­ing your weight (W) in kilo­grams and di­vid­ing it by your height (H) in me­tres squared: BMI = W(kg) ÷ H(m2). These are the BMI ranges: l Un­der­weight = less than 18.5 l Nor­mal weight for young and mid­dle-aged adults = 18.5 to 24.9 l Over­weight = 25 to 29.9

l Obese = 30 or greater.

Waist cir­cum­fer­ence This is taken sim­ply by putting a tape mea­sure around your waist at the level of the um­bili­cus (navel). For men, 94cm or more flags an in­creased health risk.

Blood pres­sure Blood pres­sure should be checked at each visit to the GP, or at least ev­ery year. It should be done more of­ten if you have other heart dis­ease risk fac­tors such as smok­ing or be­ing over­weight. If your blood pres­sure is el­e­vated (more than 140/90), you will be re­ferred for 24-hour blood pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing to see if treat­ment is nec­es­sary.

Blood sugar A blood sugar (or blood glu­cose) test is a blood test best done first thing in the morn­ing with noth­ing to eat from mid­night the night be­fore. A high fast­ing blood sugar read­ing may mean diabetes. Poorly con­trolled diabetes is a sig­nif­i­cant risk fac­tor for heart and blood ves­sel dis­ease, kid­ney dis­ease and blind­ness.

Choles­terol A blood test for choles­terol should be done ev­ery five years. If your choles­terol level is found to be high, diet and life­style changes will be rec­om­mended. Your doc­tor will dis­cuss if you need med­i­ca­tion.

Sight Men over the age of 40 should have their eyes checked an­nu­ally by an oph­thal­mol­o­gist for cataracts, glau­coma and mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion.

Hear­ing This should be tested at the first sign of hear­ing loss or from age 65.

Den­tal Daily oral hy­giene with brush­ing and floss­ing is im­por­tant for your gen­eral health as well as your oral health. A den­tal check-up and thor­ough clean­ing should be done ev­ery year.

Bone min­eral den­sity (BMD) test

At 60 years old, men have a 29 per cent chance of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an os­teo­porotic frac­ture dur­ing their re­main­ing life­time. Risk fac­tors in­clude smok­ing, ex­ces­sive al­co­hol con­sump­tion, poor diet,>>

“From early child­hood to old age, reg­u­lar phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity is an es­sen­tial el­e­ment of good health.”

“Once a year from your 20s on, ask your doc­tor to check any moles or ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties on your skin.”

in­ac­tiv­ity and tak­ing med­i­ca­tions such as cor­ti­cos­teroids, PPI acid-low­er­ing med­i­ca­tions and some an­tide­pres­sants.

Bowel can­cer screen­ing Bowel can­cer causes more deaths than any other can­cer ex­cept lung can­cer. Pre­can­cer­ous lumps or polyps can de­velop in your bowel with­out caus­ing any symp­toms, some­times for years. There are two ways of screen­ing for bowel can­cer. One is fae­cal oc­cult blood test­ing or FOBT, which in­volves send­ing sam­ples of bowel mo­tions to a lab­o­ra­tory (via your GP or the Na­tional Bowel Can­cer Screen­ing pro­gramme) to test for blood. The other way is a colonoscopy cam­era passed into the bowel to search for pre­can­cer­ous polyps or bowel can­cers.

PSA and prostate check The most com­mon type of can­cer in men is prostate can­cer, with about 3000 New Zealand men di­ag­nosed each year. More than 600 Kiwi men die from the dis­ease an­nu­ally, but if it is caught early it can be treated. Dis­cuss a Prostate Spe­cific Anti­gen (PSA) blood test with your GP for the early de­tec­tion of prostate can­cer.

Skin check New Zealand has a par­tic­u­larly high in­ci­dence of melanoma, the most dan­ger­ous form of skin can­cer, and death rates are higher for men than women. If dis­cov­ered and treated early enough, most can be cured. Once a year from your 20s on, ask your GP to check any moles or ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties on your skin. No mat­ter what your age, alert your doc­tor if you no­tice a mole or freckle that changes size or colour, be­comes itchy or bleeds, or a sore that will not heal.

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