The 10-16 of June marks Men’s Health Week; now, more than ever, it’s apparent that men’s health – both physically and mentally – should be more thoroughly considered. Male suicides have consistently accounted for approximately three-quarters of all suicides in the UK since the mid-90s.
Moreover, studies have shown that masculinity is negatively correlated with a willingness to take medication to improve mental health.
In terms of physical health, it’s now the norm to spend much of the day chained to a desk. More desk time and increasingly sedentary lifestyles are causing an increase in major health issues, including type 2 diabetes. In fact, men make up 55% of the workforce but account for 92% of all workplace deaths.
Dr Sarah Brewer has offered her tips for ways to minimise the risk of obtaining the ‘lifestyle disease’.
“If you work in an office, there’s a good chance you spend a large part of your day seated at a desk. Sitting for long periods of time during the day is linked with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and premature death.
“Stand and walk around at least every 20 to 30 minutes. Build regular exercise into your every day – for example, walking to and from work, or at least part of the way. Stand as much as possible – there is a growing trend for standing desks, for example, and for walking meetings.
“As well as this, avoid temptation of cakes and biscuits by taking in healthy snacks – fruit, hummus and carrots, for example. It is important to drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain hydration.
“Ultimately, you should walk as much as possible – walk to a local park to eat your healthy packed lunch, brisk walking for at least 30 minutes (and preferably an hour) on most days is ideal”.
Read the signs
If you’re already suffering with type 2 diabetes, you may be aware of the recognised complication that co-occurs as a result of the disease. Dr Brewer explains: “Erectile dysfunction affects at least one in five men over 60 but is becoming increasingly common in younger men, and is a recognised complication of type 2 diabetes.
“Having persistently raised blood glucose levels can damage artery linings, leading to atherosclerosis (hardening and furring up of the arteries), which affects the blood flow changes needed to achieve and maintain an erection.
“Raised glucose levels can also damage the autonomic nerves that regulate sexual reflexes and can contribute to erectile difficulties.”