Men’s Health Checkup
The life expectancy of Australian men is 79 compared with 84 for Australian women.
The four most common causes of death and illness in men are:
1. Heart disease
2. Cancer including lung, skin, prostate and bowel cancers
3. Accidents such as car and bike accidents
4. Lung disease such as emphysema.
Our GPs recognise prevention is vital to improve men’s health outcomes. As men tend to attend doctors less frequently than women, our GPs try and work opportunistically and then encourage men to return for regular checkups.
The risk of heart disease can be significantly lowered by not smoking or ceasing smoking, eating a healthy diet, maintaining and healthy weight with a BMI between 20-25 and a waist under 95cm and exercising regularly.
Chronic health conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes need to be managed, working to achieve targets which lower risk. The 45-49 year old health check can be used as a basis for an extensive health check and is covered by Medicare.
Our GPs recommend tests for checking for blood in the stools each 2 years over 50 and colonoscopy in those with a family history of bowel cancer.
They advise men between 19 and 32 to regularly examine their testes to check for testicular cancer. They discuss the option of screening for prostate cancer with a PSA and digital rectal examination from 50 and 40 in those with a family history.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a common condition affecting 1 in 7 men between 40-49 and increasing to 1 in 4 over 70. A yearly check of the prostate can help detect this and it is important to discuss with your GP any changing urinary symptoms such as frequency, slow stream, dribbling or nocturia.
Erectile dysfunction is another common condition in men affecting 1 in 5 men over 40 and 2 in 3 men over 70. It also can be a warning sign of medical illnesses such as heart disease or diabetes or depression. It is important to raise this issue with your GP so that the GPs can investigate and treat this problem.
Depression affects 1 in 6 Australian men. Young men commit suicide four times more than young women and men over 65 also have a very high suicide rate.
Depression can be associated with medical illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or chronic pain or death of a partner and isolation. Men often do not seek treatment for mental illness and can increase the use of alcohol or non prescribed drugs. Our GPs encourage men to discuss these issues and then provide the appropriate intervention and support which can include counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, referral to a Psychiatrist or Psychologist or medications.