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Unspoken health concerns put men at risk

Article-Unspoken health concerns put men at risk

Image via Canva Pro men's health
Mayo Clinic expert addresses physicians’ role in improving men’s health awareness.

Urological, sexual and mental health, among others, are key areas that men need to help to prioritise in order to secure better health. As the healthcare community marks Men’s Health Awareness Month in June, Mayo Clinic Healthcare in London hosted a virtual media briefing led by healthcare expert and general medicine practitioner Dr. Vikas Mehta to highlight different aspects of men's wellness that lack attention and pose a danger to their health.  

As men age, they are likely to encounter conditions that leave a significant impact on their quality of life. Recognising and addressing these symptoms is crucial for maintaining good health. Dr. Mehta said that there are several physical signs men need to pay attention to, but when it comes to discussing them with their physicians, they tend to feel uncomfortable and miss the chance to receive proper treatment. 

"For men, the symptoms that affect their lives are things that they are not very comfortable talking to others about," said Dr. Mehta, who is also a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners and of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health. "Often, these conditions are treatable." 

RelatedThe weight of men’s mental health

Raising awareness, providing appropriate medical care, and creating a safe space for discussions can empower to take control of their health and improve their overall well-being. 

Urological symptoms and sexual health 

The need to urinate frequently is a common symptom that men should not ignore, as it may indicate either prostate or bladder issues, or even diabetes. Painful or difficult urination requires a follow-up with a specialist as similar situations may lead to bigger concerns. Erectile dysfunction, for example, treatable, and may indicate the need for cardiac screening. Dr. Mehta explained that issues with blood vessels in one part of the body could be an indication of similar problems elsewhere. Another important aspect of sexual health is undergoing a testicular exam to detect any lumps or abnormalities. 

Men’s mental health 

Dr. Mehta underlined the significance of mental health for men. Men should pay attention to their mental well-being and seek help when needed, especially in high-stress professions such as banking and law. Identifying when and where to get support is crucial for maintaining good mental health. 

Musculoskeletal health and workouts 

A decrease in the ability to exercise as well as prolonged recovery from injuries may be signs of musculoskeletal issues, which includes muscle wasting and inflammatory problems. Physical activity and stress management are interconnected, according to Dr. Mehta, so those that are unable to engage in exercise due to musculoskeletal conditions may experience negative effects on their mental health. Screening for conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatic diseases, particularly if there is a family history, is also recommended. 

Respiratory health 

Symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath during exercise or routine activities, and chronic cough should not be ignored. Dr. Mehta advised seeking screening and evaluation for possible respiratory conditions, including adult-onset asthma and COVID-related problems. Snoring and breathing interruptions during sleep may be signs of sleep apnoea and other respiratory issues. These problems can lead to poor sleep quality, which is associated with various health problems such as high blood pressure, increased appetite leading to diabetes, weight gain, anxiety, and depression. 

Ear, nose, and throat health 

The rise in remote work and increased use of headphones has contributed to an increase in symptoms such as tinnitus, hearing disparities between ears, and ear pain. Men experiencing chronic sore throats, particularly smokers, or those with white lesions in their mouths should undergo examination for throat cancers. 

Dr Vikas Mehta 

Dr. Vikas Mehta

Additionally, individuals with unexplained chronic congestion should be screened for nasal polyps, and a feeling of one nostril being more obstructed than the other may be a symptom. The need to clear the throat or a sensation of something caught in the throat may be signs of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. 

Diabetes in men 

Frequent thirst may be an indicator for diabetes and should prompt screening. Heavy alcohol consumers should also undergo screening for diabetes, Dr. Mehta recommended. 

Overall, it is crucial for men to pay attention to their health and be proactive in discussing any symptoms or concerns with their healthcare providers. Healthcare providers, on the other hand, should be vigilant and offer unbiased suggestions to encourage men to address their symptoms and seek diagnosis in a timely manner. After all, early intervention means better health outcomes and a positive impact on men’s health regardless of age. 


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