15-21 June 2020 marks Men’s Health Week. This is an important event which raises awareness of the issues affecting boy’s and men’s health outcomes and how we, as health practitioners can help make a positive impact on these outcomes.
Men’s Health week was initially established in the United States in 1994 to heighten awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.
The health status of males in most countries, including Australia, is generally poorer than that of females. Many men feel uncomfortable discussing health issues which affect them. The reasons for this are multifactorial but as a GP I’ve definitely noticed that men often only visit their Doctor when they think there’s a problem that can be fixed, and are less likely to attend for preventative care – if they feel OK they generally steer clear of the Doctor! This leads to illnesses often only being diagnosed once they are all too apparent, rather than effective preventative care being implemented early on.
Mental health presents another challenge – we know that 1 in 8 men will experience depression and 1 in 5 will experience anxiety at some point in their lives, but often when a man comes in to discuss their mental health there is an overriding sense of shame or embarrassment, and also often a reluctance or sense of unease when asked to talk about their feelings.
How can we as practitioners help? Not only by raising awareness of the issues which affect men but also by trying to put men at ease and help them feel more comfortable with visiting the Doctor “just for a checkup”, or to touch base about preventative care and mental health. Educating men on why they may choose to visit a GP is also important.
Examples of some of the things we offer at the clinic for men interested in preventative health (by no means an exhaustive list):
- Blood pressure checks
- BMI checks
- STI screening
- PrEP prescribing
- HPV immunisation
- Smoking cessation
- Cholesterol checks
- Skin checks
- Discussion about healthy lifestyle: diet, exercise, alcohol
- Screening for depression/anxiety symptoms
- Other blood tests as clinically appropriate depending upon symptoms/family history of disease
- Discussion about self-examination for testicular cancer
- Discussion about tests that assist with prostate cancer detection
- Discussion about Bowelscreening
- Discussions about fertility and trying to conceive
Something to remember is that only 30% of a man’s overall health is determined by his genetics – 70% is controllable through lifestyle
WE CAN HELP YOU WITH YOUR HEALTH NEEDS
Coronavirus restrictions have eased just as Winter officially arrives. Whilst we slowly transition back to our former routines of learning, face to face gatherings, resuming business, retail and personal services, and sports and recreatio, it is critical that we all do our bit to remain Covid-Safe.
- Practice physical distancing – stay 1.5m away from others
- Practice good hygiene
- Stay home if you are unwell
- Download the Covid Safe app
For more information https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/staying-safe-covid-19
What does this mean for your general health and wellbeing?
Health authorities have strongly recommended flu vaccination this year and so if you are yet to have your flu vaccination, book in with one of our doctors. Despite increases in the flu vaccine availability this year, many have reported waiting lists at GP clinics and pharmacies. We fortunately have flu vaccines available at the Medical Hub so feel free to book in now for a bulk-billed consultation and a $20 flu vaccination fee.
Medicare Funded Telehealth services remain available until September, so you may still schedule a bulk billed telephone consultation with one of our experienced doctors. The doctor of your choice will call you at the time of your scheduled appointment, on your preferred contact telephone number. It is incredible how many medical problems can be managed using Telehealth. Password protected correspondence including referrals, medical certificates and special consideration forms can be emailed directly to you following your Telehealth consultation. Prescriptions can also be sent directly to your nominated pharmacy.