MANY of us have been focussing on our health and wellbeing this year following the coronavirus pandemic.
For some, going to the GP has been daunting with many avoiding it, but one expert has said that there are some health checks you need to be keeping on top of.
Pharmacist Sumaiya Patel at Pharmacy2U said there are some conditions that men over 40 in particular should get checked out.
She explained: "There’s no issue with a healthy male going to see a doctor for examinations, screenings and preventative health consultations, however men tend to wait till they have symptoms before visiting their GP.
"Preventive health check-ups can catch dangerous cancers and illnesses early enough to save lives.
“Health scares tend to occur as we get older, so it’s important for males over the age of 40 to stop putting off their health checks."
1. High blood pressure
It's rare that you will have symptoms of high blood pressure, but if undetected it can cause issues such as heart attacks or strokes.
Sumaiya said that it's because of this that it's important you get regular blood pressure and cholesterol tests.
She explained: "Cholesterol is a type of fat that is carried around the body in the blood. High levels of cholesterol can build up in the arteries and increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.
“Levels can be checked by a simple blood test. It is important to have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked regularly after the age of 40 so you can make lifestyle changes if needed to manage your health."
2. Poor mood
Many people experience poor mood from time to time, it's just part of being human.
But if you mood is getting hard to manage and you're struggling, this is something you need to keep an eye on, Sumaiya said.
She added: "Mental health conditions are often the hardest to spot and seek help for.
"If you’ve noticed any behavioural changes, feelings of extreme sadness and exhaustion don’t try to tough it out. They could be the first signs of depression and it is important to recognise that these feelings are treatable.
“Talk to someone you trust, a local support group or a GP who can advise on whether medication therapy or a combination of both is needed."
3. Peeing more often
Urinating more often is one of the main signs of prostate cancer, which is the most diagnosed cancer in all men.
Other key symptoms include needing to rush to the toilet in the middle of the night and difficulty in peeing.
Sumaiya said: "To diagnose prostate cancer PSA blood tests are used as well as a rectal examination.
“All men over 50 are entitled to a PSA test, but it’s generally only given to those with symptoms, and then only together with a rectal exam.”
4. Enlarged testicles
Having enlarged testicles is one of the main symptoms of testicular cancer.
Other key symptoms include a dull ache in the groin or abdomen or a sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum.
Sumaiya explained: “Whilst testicular cancer tends to be associated with men under 35, men over 40 are still at risk and should check themselves for lumps regularly.
“If you notice any pea-sized hard lumps on your testicles or a dull ache and heaviness in the groin area, make an appointment to see the GP as testicular cancer is one of the most easily cured cancers if caught early.”
One of the best ways to make sure you are in good health is to go for an NHS health check, Sumaiya said.
These checks can tell you whether you're at higher risk of getting certain health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and strokes. It will also provide advice on how to reduce the risks.
She added: "You'll be invited for a free NHS Health Check every five years if you're between 40 and 74 years of age and do not already have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease or high blood pressure.
“If you haven’t yet been contacted for a health check, contact your GP."
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