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Your Health - Men's Health - Checkups

Most men just don't like the idea of having a checkup - it's the embarrassment thing. Well, I tell you this - it's much better to be embarrassed than be dead.

"I'm OK, it will never happen to me." Hmmm. I've had 3 friends die in the last couple of years and they didn't need to. They would be alive today if they had been for a regular "service" check.

Prostate


The prostate gland is a small walnut shaped organ, which sits at the base of the bladder and surrounds the urine tube. The inactive, synthetic lifestyles we lead seem to be associated with an increase in the size of the prostate gland in many males, usually in the mid 40s and above. This tends to put pressure on and irritate the water works system and we may pass urine more frequently with a poorer stream.

The number of times you get out of bed at night to go to the loo may be relevant here and a visit to your Doctor for a check up is a good idea.

An acquaintance of mine - Professor of Urology - said to me "I've never ever had a conversation with a man dying of terminal prostate cancer that was glad that he hadn't had his check-up."

I recommend that all males over 40 should have a prostate check.

Assess your own loo rating if you are 40 years plus - or you have a family history of cancer
  • Once a night - Usual
  • Twice a night - Check up Please
  • Three or more times a night - Check up Definitely

Waist Measurement


Measuring your BMI is a good indicator of how fat, healthy or supreme you are.

Another good one is the simple old tape measure around the waist, because if you are a muscled up type sometimes your BMI is typically higher even though you are not necessarily overweight. The BMI ranking is also not so good for youngsters or older people.

If you are carrying excess fat (a waist measurement over 100cm) you have an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, various cancers and significantly terrifying your partner, wife, girlfriend or other.

People often tell me I shouldn't call it fat. So what is it then? Jelly maybe? Let's call a spade a spade.

Blood Pressure


Blood pressure is very good because it keeps you alive. Without blood pressure you are dead.

"Blood pressure" is the pressure of blood flowing through your arteries and it should be measured in an artery about the same level as your heart.

Blood pressure is a really important measure, because high blood pressure is associated with an increased risk of having a stroke, a heart attack or developing heart disease.

You can have high blood pressure without any symptoms.

The first symptom in up to 30% of people with heart disease is sudden death - that's bloody hard to cure!

Blood pressure can be affected by body fat, what you eat, your genetic makeup and how much you exercise.

But being FAT - there's that word again - is the biggest contributor to high blood pressure.

If you carry even a few extra kilos / pounds of excess fat, that contains kilometers (and miles) of small blood vessels and if you screw this extra length of blood vessels onto a system of pipes (inside you), the heart has to pump harder and the pressure in the pipes goes UP - that's bad - that's called high blood pressure which leads to deadly diseases.

It's a great idea to have your blood pressure checked regularly - it's a very good indicator of your current health.

Colon


I know the mere thought of a "bowel inspection" does not seem like a fun way to spend an hour. Colon (bowel) cancer is now the #1 internal cancer in the western world and tens of thousands of people die from this disease. If a regular check is potentially going to save your life, why wouldn't you do it? The cure is there when such things as polyps are discovered at an early stage. Stage 4 bowel cancer that has spread to other parts of your body is another story.

I recommend that all males over the age of 40 should discuss having a colonoscopy with their Doctor. If you have a history in your family of bowel cancer or other cancers, this visit to your Medico is even more important.

Cholesterol


Having some cholesterol in your system is important for normal hormonal and nerve functions, but an excess of this fatty substance can clog up the tiny arteries which supply your heart with blood and life. High cholesterol readings can increase your chance of heart disease and stroke, but on the other hand treatment is effective.

If some diet is advising you to eat a high animal fat / low plant food diet - then personally I would be worried...

HDL cholesterol is known as 'good' cholesterol (protective) and LDL is knows as 'bad cholesterol' (harmful).