What is Preventive Health
Even when feeling healthy, a simple yearly visit to your GP can most often save your lifestyle and often your life. Your life can be lived longer if you keep in touch with your health and start making friends with your GP.
It is known that Australian men find it hard to front up to personal and potential life threatening health issues. A visit to your GP should be high on your list of priorities.
The M5 Project suggests five simple things men can do to live a prevent illness and live a healthy life:
Share your family history with your GP
Sharing your family history will give your GP a greater understanding of your health risks and the ability to properly monitor your health. Monitoring your health regularly will give you a much better chance of catching any health issues early and give you the best chance at surviving potentially life threatening illness.
Know your healthy weight
Knowing your healthy weight is another way to easily monitor your health and risks. The risk of many health issues including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressures, some cancers, osteoarthritis, etc are all greatly increased if you’re overweight. Being overweight is also linked to psychological disorders and social problems.
Obesity is a growing problem with up to 62% of Australian men considered overweight or obese according to their BMI.
Being a healthy weight can help improve cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood glucose levels. It can also make it easier to be physically active and improve self confidence and self esteem.
Maintaining a healthy weight can often be managed with a good balanced diet and regular physical activity. In some cases, a visit to your GP may be able to help.
Check your blood pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease and renal failure. The risk of disease increases as the level of blood pressure increases.
Major causes of high blood pressure include overweight, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, dietary salt intake and nutrition patterns which involve low intake of fruits and vegetables and high intake of saturated fat.
Stop Smoking – That’s the only healthy option
Smoking causes 40% of deaths in men who are aged under 65. Smoking is responsible for causing up to 25 different diseases. It is recognized that your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and a range of cancers and other diseases is greatly increased if you’re a smoker.
Quitting is the only healthy option. The body has an amazing ability to recover from the effects of smoking after you quit. After 24 hours the carbon monoxide in your blood will have dropped dramatically and all the nicotine will have been metabolized. Within a year of quitting the risk of coronary heard disease is halved and after 10-15 years of not smoking your risk of disease will be the same as those who have never smoked.
There are a number of services available for those who want to quit – speak to your GP or call Quitline for help.
Maintain a Healthy Mind and a Healthy Body
Depression is the most common cause of suicide which claims over 1600 men every year. Recognising the symptoms of depression in yourself and others can be the first step to beating it. Symptoms include tiredness, irritability, sleep disturbance, and loss of interest in work or other activities.
Risk factors include family history of mental illness, excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, stress, unemployment and chronic illness.
Men are less likely to seek help when they’re feeling down. It’s imperative you talk to someone if you’re not feeling right – there are services out there to help you or you can chat to your GP.