MEN HEALTH WEEK: SELF CARE AND CHECK UPS

Each day during Men’s Health Week, we’re posting articles to raise awareness of commons health issues for men. Today: self-care and check-ups.

On average men go to their GP half as often as women. This may in part be the reason why 100,000 men a year die prematurely. Men may feel embarrassed in seeking help, or hope their symptoms will “just get better”.

The NHS Health Check is a free health check-up for adults in England age 40-74 who do not have any pre-existing medical conditions. It is designed to spot early signs of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dementia which are more likely to develop as we age. The Health Check is intended to lower these risks. From age 40 you should have a check every 5 years and may be called automatically by your GP surgery. If not, you can also book the test yourself in your surgery or at participating pharmacies, mobile units or via your local authority. You can find full details at www.nhs.uk/Conditions/nhs-health-check/

For this year’s annual Men’s Health Week, Men’s Health Forum are encouraging men to be at the top of their game, physically and mentally; it’s time for men everywhere to give themselves an MOT.

Why do men need an MOT? While we’ve been focused on the pandemic we’ve taken our eyes off other serious conditions; early stage cancer diagnoses fell by third in first lockdown and that shortfall has continued. Macmillan reckon that around 50,000 of us have missed a cancer diagnosis during the pandemic. Prostate cancer diagnoses, for example, were down 29% between 2019 and 2020. That’s not because prostate cancer is getting rarer (it isn’t), but because men weren’t seeing their GPs to begin to get diagnosed. Indeed, male GP visits fell more than female visits. There were good reasons for this fall during lockdown but not now.

Meanwhile, NHS Health Checks, which should be offered to most people over 40, were paused during Covid. They should be being restarted (from April 2022). All of this gives us even more reason to keep an eye on our own bodies and minds and give ourselves an MOT. Men’s Health Forum’s message to men is a simple one: it’s time for your MOT. Click here to visit the Men’s Health Forum’s website for more information on MOT and take notice of what’s going on in your body and mind.

Don’t wait to make healthy changes. Take the How Are You quiz and start now.

The Men’s Health Forum are working hard pushing for more action from government, from health professionals and from all of us. Why are men more affected and what can we do about it? We need the data. We need the research. We need the action. Currently the Men’s Health Forum is the only UK charity doing this and they need your support, click here for their fund-raising page.

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