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MAN vorsus -LH DOCTOR Encouraging your partner to get a health checK-up might just save his life... Encouraging your partner to get a health checK-up might just save his life... ou're going to the doctor.' These were words spoken by myself in sheer frustration as I dialled our GPs number, while my husband continued to deny there was anything wrong with him (he'd been complaining of terrible back pain for weeks, and by this stage he couldn't even get out of bed without my assistance). For most men, doctors' visits aren't high on the agenda. Blame it on their pride or perhaps an unreasonable fear; men tend to ignore health symptoms, usually only consulting a doctor when things have progressed to serious discomfort. We all know that women and men should be going to their GP for a general check-up at least once a year. Regular check-ups help doctors to identify early warning signs, such as high blood pressure, abnormal blood glucose levels and various medical conditions like heart disease and certain types of cancer; which, if identified early enough, can often be successfully treated and managed. There are a number of health issues that men should keep top of mind, yet they often I don't or play down symptoms. So what exactly puts a man's health at risk as he ages? It's not so much a specific disease, but the diseases are a result of a lack of health care monitoring earlier in life. )UR FAMILY April 2015 0 As recently as 2013, the Centre for Diabetes & Endocrinology in Johannesburg placed the number of South Africans currently suffering from diabetes (type 1 and type 2) as high as 3.5 million (6% of our population), with an additional five million suffering from pre-diabetes. It not only affects a person's quality of life, but if not detected early enough or properly treated, it can also lead to a number of more serious conditions, including heart disease, stroke, blindness and kidney disease. Symptoms Diabetes is a silent disease — until the complications start. t/ Increased thirst and hunger t/ Fatigue t/ Frequent urination, especially at night if Unexplained weight loss Blurred vision Sores that won't heal TREATMENT For people with risk factors for diabetes or those who've been diagnosed with prediabetes, adopting a healthy, active lifestyle can be a first step in prevention. For people living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, lifestyle changes such as adopting a healthy eating plan, increasing your daily physical activity and managing your weight, can also make a dramatic difference. Along with proper medication, making these changes can help to control diabetes and reduce further health risks resulting from the disease. Early diagnosis is key. If the disease is well managed, people with diabetes can live a happy, healthy life. Depression is a 'whole-body' illness, involving your body, mood and thoughts. It affects the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you think about things. Unfortunately, the lingering image of depression as a female condition may keep men who are clinically depressed from recognising the symptoms of depression and seeking treatment. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months or years. Male depression is not as widely recognised as female depression and therefore it may go under-diagnosed. Depression in men can have devastating consequences. Men tend to suppress emotions that they think can be taken as a sign of weakness and studies show that this suppression can increase the time it takes to grieve and lead to complications such as escalating anger, aggressiveness and substance abuse. To combat their feelings men often become involved in risk-taking and addictive behaviours. These coping strategies, while superficially 'effective' at first, don't keep depression at bay for long and often the result is suicide. Symptoms Men often don't display observable symptoms of depression, like crying, sadness, a loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, and verbally expressing thoughts of suicide. Depression may actually cause men to suppress their feelings even more and become increasingly aggressive or irritable. Persistent sad or 'empty' mood Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex t/ Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism t,/ Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness and selfreproach t,/ Insomnia or hypersomnia, early morning awakening, or oversleeping Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain t/ Decreased energy, fatigue and feeling run down t,/ Increased use of alcohol and drugs, may be associated but not a criteria for diagnosis Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts if Restlessness, irritability, hostility t,/ Difficulty concentrating, remembering and making decisions if Persistent physical symptoms that don't respond to treatment such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain t/ Deterioration of social relationships While depression can be a devastating illness, it can be treated. There are many treatment options, such as therapy and medication, which depend on the individual and the severity of the illness. Appropriate treatment however, can help most sufferers. Your GP can advise a course of action. For more info visit Sadag.org or call 0800 21 22 23. April 2015 YOUR FAMILY 99 TREATMENT LUNG CANCER The lifetime risk of cancer for men is 1:8 according to the National Cancer Registry of 2008. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among our men and it is the most common cancer worldwide. There are two main types of lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. These names refer to how the cancers look under a microscope to a pathologist. Most lung cancers are non-small cell. There are subtypes of non-small lung cancer. Signs and symptoms Signs and symptoms of lung cancer typically occur only when the disease is advanced, and may include: t/ A new cough that doesn't go away if Changes in a chronic cough or 'smoker's cough' A cough that gets worse or doesn't go away Coughing up blood, even a small amount Shortness of breath or wheezing Constant chest pain — especially when coughing Frequent chest infections, such as pneumonia, or an infection that doesn't go away Wheezing Hoarseness Swelling of the neck and face Fatigue (feeling very tired all the time) Loss of appetite Losing weight without trying Bone pain Headache DID YOU KNOW? TREATMENT Cancer can be treated more effectively if diagnosed early and it's vital to be aware of risk factors (such as tobacco, alcohol, sun exposure, family history, etc.) and ways to reduce the cancer risk. The type of treatment a patient will receive for lung cancer depends on several factors, including the type of lung cancer (non-small cell or small cell), the size and position of the cancer how far advanced the cancer is (stage), the patient's overall health. Deciding what treatment is best can be difficult however, treatments options include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE Cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to any disease of the heart and blood vessels. On average, it kills 200 people a day in South Africa and for every woman who dies of a heart attack, two men will die. CVDs, such as hypertension and coronary artery disease, may predispose a person to heart attacks, heart failure and strokes. According to The Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa, in SA almost one in three men are overweight or obese — a contributing factor for heart disease. One in five men has a waist circumference that places them at a risk of high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol. One in three men has high blood pressure, with less than a third even aware of their condition. Symptoms Cardiovascular disease, such as raised blood pressure or coronary heart disease, often has no symptoms until it's too late, although, chest and arm pains or chest discomfort can be warning signs of a heart attack. Other signs include shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, abnormal heart rhythms, and feeling exceptionally tired. TREATMENT While treatment options depend on the type of CVD, there are a variety of lifestyle changes your man can implement to help manage his condition. According to Dr Jacques Snyman, clinical adviser for Resolution Health Medical Scheme, you can avoid getting coronary heart disease, hypertension or suffering from a heart attack by taking these easy steps to start loving your heart... Make your life a no-smoking zone. Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease. Get your blood pressure checked annually. Maintain a healthy weight. A body mass index (BMI) below 25 is ideal. If your man is muscular, a waist measurement may be more appropriate, aim for below a size 38 pant size. Keep an eye on your cholesterol. Your cholesterol should be less than 5 mmol/L (discuss with your health care provider as this may even be too high for some patients). Control your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar should be regularly screened after the age of 45 or much earlier if overweight. Get moving! Try and exercise at a moderate intensity for at least five times per week (a total of 150 minutes) and increase the intensity as you start feeling fitter and stronger. Eat a 'heart friendly' diet. Limit salt, sugar and saturated fats. Rather opt for whole foods like fruits and vegetables, fish, proteins, nuts and whole grains. Limit your alcohol intake. Remember the old adage 'everything in moderation'. Adherence to prescribed medicines and activities is one of the best way to avoid heart disease.