British men pay a high price for neglecting their health – shockingly, one in five dies before his 65th birthday.
But looking at the facts, it’s hardly surprising.
According to Men’s Health Forum ( menshealthforum.org.uk ), a whopping 67% of men are overweight or obese , are far more likely to die from heart disease and cancer , are twice as likely to have diabetes as women, and account for four out of five suicides.
And they are more likely to drink and smoke to excessive levels compared to women.
Despite all this, research shows that men are half as likely than women to visit their GP or dentist, or ask the pharmacist for advice, and they are more likely to end up in hospital because of a delay in getting a diagnosis and die four years earlier than women.
Men are blind to cancer signs and are less likely than women to visit a doctor over concerns
“Men are dying too young because they avoid thinking about their health,” says Sarah Coghlan, director of health promotion for the Movember Foundation, a global charity tackling men’s health.
“There’s a large disparity in health services available to men compared to women, but seeking help also seems to be viewed by some men as a sign of weakness.”
To help address this shocking situation, November is Men’s Health Awareness Month, also known as Movember , so here we look at conditions men are more prone to and how they help protect themselves.
The problem: A beer belly
“An average pint of beer contains over 180 calories and just three pints adds up to the equivalent of two burgers,” explains John Larsen of alcohol education charity Drinkaware .
Alcohol not only has no nutritional value, it also makes self-control harder and, research shows it suppresses leptin, the hunger-regulating hormone.
It also stops you burning all other fat until the booze has been processed, so it’s no surprise that drinking can lead to extra weight around the middle. And, unlike excess fat on the bottom or thighs, this excess visceral fat around the middle surrounds the internal organs – dramatically increasing the risk of cancer, heart disease and liver disease.
TAKE ACTION: Start by cutting out booze in the week. If this is too difficult, cut out one day, then two and so on. Other weight-loss measures include reducing food portions and filling up on lean protein plus fruit and veg while upping activity levels, adds Dr David Haslam of the National Obesity Forum ( nationalobesityforum.org.uk ).
“Find ways to build more activity into your normal daily routine such as cycling to work, walking the dog or taking the kids to the park.”
Tip: Visit drinkaware.co.uk/little-less . It’s a free, interactive tool to help people understand what a small change in their drinking would mean to them.
The problem: Persistent heartburn
“The burning feeling in your chest is caused by stomach acid coming up into your oesophagus (food pipe in the throat),” explains Dr Adam Simon, chief medical officer at pushdoctor.co.uk