If you break it down physically, men are the stronger beings. They can run faster, lift more, throw things further and are generally more rugged. But when it comes to health, it’s a different ball game. Amy J Fox, personal trainer and health and skincare therapist, tells us about the common health issues that plague men and how they can be nipped in the bud
Due to a complex mix of biological, social and behavioral factors, the health difference between
men and women begin in the womb and continue to differ through the rest of our lives. Here are the four that plague men:
This is the number one killer and the core to most other health related issues.
The worst part of it? You can’t really see it coming. It is, by far, one of the most underrated, unnoticed and undiagnosed life threatening health issues. Symptoms to look out for are:
• Lack of motivation
• Lack of concentration or inability to complete tasks
• Feeling excessively tired
• Recurring headaches
• Frequent intake or binging of spirits
• Elevated blood pressure
• Chest pain
• Digestive problems
The suicide rate among men is about four times higher than it is for women, and as stress levels increase, it is becoming increasingly common. We all have our ups and downs but if the feelings of hopelessness and despair go beyond that and start affecting work, family life and the ability to enjoy life, you might be suffering from depression. Symptoms to look out for are:
• Reckless behaviour
• Angry outbursts
• Create conflicts
• Back pain
• Use of substance to self-medicate
It is one of the leading health risks facing men today and more than one in three men is suffering from heart disease. When we’re stressed, feeling down and are sleeping less we are 90% more likely to eat badly, indulge in substance abuse and skip daily workouts. Over time, when all of these factors are put together, they lead to the perfect recipe for heart disease. Symptoms to look out for are:
• Extreme discomfort, pressure, heaviness or pain below the breast bone or chest
• Shortness of breath
• Extreme fatigue
• Irregular heartbeat
• Intense headache
It affects over 90% of the 13-million+ men with diabetes. Usually beginning silently with blood sugar levels increasing over time, it acts like a poison to blood vessels and nerves. Unlike people who suffer from Type 1 Diabetes, people with Type 2 Diabetes produce insulin, however the amount being produced is either not enough or non-recognisable to the body. Anyone can get Type 2 Diabetes, although its common ground stands with men who are overweight, who suffer from high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Symptoms to look out for are:
• Increased thirst
• Increased hunger (especially after eating)
• Dry mouth
• Frequent urination
• Weight loss
• Blurred vision
Taking a cursory look at the four health issues, one thing that stands out is that stress is at the root of them all. It is inevitable and something we all have to deal with. Here are some stress busting tools to help combat it and prevent health issues that come with it:
Shift your mindset! There are many ways to transform the way you view something. Psychologists call it ‘cognitive reframing’. For example, instead of thinking about a deadline as stressful, see it as a challenge you have set yourself and plan exactly how and when you are going to execute it. Open yourself to more possibilities and try to see the light in every situation.
I can’t stress the importance of a good diet enough! Food is your fuel and without the right fuel your engine can’t run at its full potential. Cut out sugars and processed foods. Eat more greens. Eat more lean proteins. Eat eggs and a warm bowl of oats for breakfast. You probably already know all of this. Now go do it!
Or jump, swim, or cycle. Whatever your preferred form of exercise is, make sure you get active! Become the person you aspire to be at the gym. Not only will you be combating stress, but you’ll also be burning calories and having fun while doing it. Set aside an hour per day to just focus on yourself and your exercise. You’ll notice a difference in your stress levels from your very first drop of sweat!
Adding magnesium tablets to your daily intake of vitamins is a very good idea when dealing with stress on a daily basis. It helps lower the levels of cortisol in the body, which is the primary hormone released during a stressful situation, and the one linked to the most health concerns.
The next time you feel stress coming on, stop what you’re doing and take a full, deep bellybreath. Simple deep breathing will increase oxygen flow to your body and brain, unclutter your busy mind and bring about a calming sensation to help you regain control of any situation.