By Bunmi Sofola

TODAY’S men are paying the price for neglecting their health, with more men dying prematurely every year, according to medical reports. But common male health problems can be detected and treated earlier, if not prevented, with better awareness and regular check-ups. For instance, testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 20 to 35, so any lumps or abnormalities in testicles should have urgent medical attention. Most lumps are benign but it is vital to get them checked because treatment is much more effective if cancer is diagnosed early.

Abdominal obesity: This affects over 30 per cent of adult male. Fat around the midriff is particularly dangerous because it secrets toxins that increase the risk of various medical disorders. Those affected are made more susceptible to high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Abnormal obesity can also lead to fat-related cancers, such as bowel and pancreatic cancer.

An enlarged prostrate: This pressure on the tube that carries urine from the bladder, making it harder to pass urine. This can be a sign of several prostrate diseases, including cancer.  Other symptoms include frequently waking up in the night to pass urine and a pain or burning when you do so.

Impotence: Most men have problems getting or keeping an erection at some point in their life, but if the condition lasts for several weeks, a doctor’s advice should be sought. Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of more serious conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure. Lifestyle changes can help, though medication such as sildenafil (viagra) might be prescribed.

Also watch out for strokes: Someone suffers a stroke every ten minutes in the country, making it the third most common cause of death. Although there is a genetic predisposition, an unhealthy life style more than doubles your stroke risk, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia. A study published in journal – Neurology says that even slightly raised blood pressure can dramatically raise the threat of stroke among younger and middle-aged people, so be sure to go for regular check-ups.

Self Help: Key changes in life-style can play a huge part in warding off stroke, a common killer. But these simple steps can help – choose a breakfast cereal fortified in folic acid to raise levels of folate, a B Vitamin that is thought to reduce the risk of stroke. Other good sources of folate are brown rice, asparagus and oranges. See your dentist regularly as gum disease is linked to stroke and heart disease risk. A study of 100,000 people found that those who had their teeth scraped and polished at least once a year had a 24 per cent lower risk of a heart attack and a 13 per cent lower risk of a stroke in the seven years following. It is thought that when the gums become inflamed, bacteria leaks into the bloodstream and causes damage to the blood vessels.

Type 2 diabetes: There is a large increase of people with diabetes in the country – and some of those with Type 2 diabetes are yet to be diagnosed. The main symptoms are: needing to pass urine more than usual, especially at night; feeling thirsty; losing weight without trying to; tiredness, blurred eyesight; genital itching or thrush, and cuts that take a long time to heal.

Self-help: “Up to 80 per cent of cases can be delayed or prevented with lifestyle changes,” says Pav Kalsi, clinical adviser at Diabetes UK.

Try the following measures: Watch your waistline: “Even if you have a normal body mass index (BMI), a large waist – defined as 31.5in or more for women and 35in or more for men – means you’re most at risk,” warns Pav Kalsi. Eat more fibre: walnuts and whole-grain foods such as brown rice and wholemeal bread and pasta are said to help.

Reduce stress: Researchers claim that having a stressful job can double your risk of diabetes. If you’re overdoing it, make sure you set aside at least two nights a week for quality relaxation time. Also check moles regularly for chances in colour or shape. Most changes are harmless but see your doctor if a mole has altered in appearance, becomes itchy or if it starts bleeding. It can then be checked and removed if necessary.

For key steps to a long healthy life:

Weight: Scientists now believe that maintaining a healthy weight is the single most important thing you can do for cancer prevention, aside from not smoking. Losing just 10 per cent of excess weight can make a dramatic difference.

Walk: According to an examination of 40 studies, simply walking for 30 minutes a day can help you beef up to 24 illnesses. It’s also great for brain function and mental health, helps you sleep better and will keep your weight in check.

Eat Well: Eat a balanced diet, including food groups, advised Amy Thompso of the British Heart Foundation “Fruit and Veg should make up a third of what we eat, a third should come from starchy foods, like bread, rice, potatoes and pasta; and a third from protein such as lean meat, fish, eggs and low-fat milk. Try to avoid eating too much saturated fat and salt.

Reduce your drinking: A third of women drink more than the recommended daily guidelines (two or three units per day), with excess drinking causing high blood pressure, increased stroke risk, reduced fertility and mental-health problems. And because alcohol affects women differently from men, certain conditions such as cancer, digestive problems and heart disease pose an additional threat to women who drink to excess. The risk of breast cancer increases with each daily unit above the recommended level.

 So Who’s Really The Boss? (Humour)

When human life began, the parts of the body competed against each other as to who should be the boss. “Well, it’s obviously me” said the heart, “because I keep all the body working.” “Not at all,” replies the brain. “I’m the one who controls all the different parts, without me there would be no organisation.” “No, no,” said the hands, “we should be boss because we do all the work.”

“Rubbish,” said the feet, “we should be the boss because without us, you wouldn’t get around and do all the things you’re supposed to do.” And so the arguing went on with every part of the body claiming superiority. Last to speak was the arsehole but everyone else laughed at such an absurd idea. So the arsehole reacted in the only way he could. He blocked himself up. Time went by, the face began to sweat, the eyes began to bulge, the hands clenched and the legs crossed… “Ok, Ok,” they said in unison, “let the arsehole be boss .. ~ so the motion was passed and while the rest of the body did all the work, the boss just sat there and passed out the sh..! So the moral of this story is: you don’t need brains to be the boss, any arsehole will do!

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