Tackling men’s health
Tuesday, 16 June 2020
We should never understate the importance of keeping good health and ensuring routine checks for people living with diabetes. Whether it’s your HbA1c readings, risk of complications, or a monthly appointment with your GP, keeping on top of your health is essential. Although this is encouraged across the board, research has shown that health isn’t always a priority – particularly in men.
Men’s Health Week (14-20 June 2021) is an opportunity to celebrate good health and make a positive difference in the lives of men and boys.
It seems as though there is a stigma surrounding men and getting to the doctor to assess your symptoms or diagnose an injury. This has led to some considerably less favourable health outcomes in men across the world, and recognising this is an essential step in removing that stigma.
Simply put, men just aren’t paying enough attention to their physical and mental health, and social norms only dig this hole deeper. Terms like “suck it up”, encouraging men to work through the pain or sickness, or to simply not express their feelings results in a lower life expectancy and massive under-diagnosis of health conditions.
Overall, men show higher rates of illness and injury, yet record less frequent visits to their GP or health specialist. This is particularly concerning in the context of people living with diabetes, where leaving a health issue too long can develop into something much more serious.
If we look at mental health more specifically, research has shown that women are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health condition than men.
Researchers suggest this comes from men being less likely to express their mental health concerns, and practitioners being less likely to recognise the issue as a mental health concern due to stigma. Mental health is a considerable factor for both the development and progression of diabetes. Without adequate care for mental health, men leave themselves more likely to develop diabetes-related complications later in life.
What can we do?
Now that we’re aware – what can we do? Simply put, speak to people! We all need to help encourage men to express their feelings and speak about their ailments. If you’re a male reading this who has already thought of an injury or illness they haven’t spoken to their doctor or partner about, don’t be afraid. It’s time to drop your guard and put yourself and your health first. Stop putting off that doctor’s appointment. It won’t make you any less of a human, and will benefit you immensely in the long run.
Listen to your body and your mind. If you’re not feeling 100% then there is more than likely a reason for that. You may be aware of what it is – an injury or anxiety, or maybe you’re not quite sure why you’re not all there. Either way, these health concerns need to be addressed.
Don’t be afraid to rest! Sometimes it can feel as though the weight of the world rests on your shoulders. Taking the time to listen to your body, rest, and restore your health and wellbeing is vital to ensuring good health. And it will help manage your diabetes immensely.
Lifestyle management is at the forefront of good mental and physical health. Incorporate exercise and incidental activity into your day, limit your alcohol consumption, and make better choices surrounding your food.
Men’s Health Week
Let’s take this opportunity to celebrate Men’s Health Week and take the first step towards improving men’s health in diabetes. If you’re looking to speak to someone regarding your health, or you’re not sure how to take the first steps towards improving your health and diabetes, give us a call on 1800 177 055 to speak to one of our health professionals.
Jonathon Fermanis – Accredited Exercise Physiologist, ESSAM
*This article was updated 15 June 2021