Men’s Health Week, 10-16 June 2019
Men are getting pretty good at looking after their own health.
Over the last 10-20 years in Australia, male life expectancy has increased to over 80 years1. There are fewer deaths from heart disease, bowel and prostate cancer1, and more males have stopped smoking cigarettes2 or drinking alcohol on a daily basis2. These figures are very reassuring.
There are other areas of male health with clear room for improvement.
Males account for 62% of premature deaths3, with the highest rates seen in men living in remote areas. Males have over three times the rate of suicide3 and twice the rate of heart disease as females3. More needs to be done to tackle these problems.
This Men’s Health Week, Australian men are being encouraged to see a doctor as part of a general maintenance routine.
Just like a car needs regular maintenance, our bodies need regular attention too. Going to your doctor or GP at least once a year can help pick up problems early. This can prevent small issues from becoming serious problems.
Accessing health services
While 80% of adult men report seeing a doctor in the last 12 months4, these appointments are generally shorter and happen much later in the disease course compared to women.
Putting off seeing a GP can mean prolonged discomfort and illness. It can also mean putting off access to life-changing advice or life-saving treatment.
There are many reasons men put off seeing their doctor. This can be because of other priorities or being too busy. Sometimes it is difficult to get an appointment at a time that suits, or the long waiting times make appointments seem impractical. It can be difficult to get to the doctors, particularly when you live in a remote area. There is also the fear of receiving bad news. And sometimes it seems easier to wait and hope that problems go away on their own.
While this may be OK for some issues, other symptoms may be warning signs that something else is going on. The earlier you find out, the earlier you can do something about it, and help avoid a much larger problem.
Your GP can recognise the early warning signs and advise when it is time and how best to intervene.
A health maintenance schedule for men
This Men’s Health Week, Healthy Male (previously Andrology Australia) in collaboration with the Australian Men’s Shed Association, has released an easy to read maintenance schedule for men, called Spanner in the Works?. This guide includes key health messages for every life stage, with general tips, and recommended checks and ideas for men to manage their own health. It breaks the body up into parts and provides clear information on what to do and why this is important. These simple suggestions can increase the chance for a longer, healthier and happier life.
This men’s health week, we recommend all men look through the Spanner in the Works? booklet and check out the maintenance and servicing schedule for their age group.
And if something isn’t right, do something about it. Make an appointment with your GP or talk to friends or family.
It’s always better to check out a small problem before it gets bigger.
Check out the Spanner in the Works? booklet available HERE
For more information about men’s health, visit the Healthy Male website: https://www.healthymale.org.au/
To find a specialist in men’s health issues near you, use our Find an Endocrinologist Tool.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2018. Deaths in Australia. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/life-expectancy-death/deaths-in-australia/contents/summary
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016: detailed findings. Drug Statistics series no. 31. Cat. no. PHE 214. Canberra: AIHW https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/illicit-use-of-drugs/2016-ndshs-detailed/contents/table-of-contents
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. Life expectancy and disability in Australia: expected years living with and without disability. Cat. no. DIS 66. Canberra: AIHW. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/life-expectancy-and-disability-in-australia-expected-years-living-with-and-without-disability/contents/table-of-contents
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. The health of Australia’s males. Cat. no: PHE 239. Canberra: AIHW. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/men-women/male-health/contents/who-are