Men’s Health Week 13 – 19 June 2022 – ‘Time For Your MOT’:
Between the 13th-19th June, the world acknowledges Men’s Health Week 2022. This annual event is organised by the Men’s Health Forum and aims to raise awareness of preventable health problems that disproportionately affect men and encourage them to gain the courage to tackle their issues.
Men’s Health Week raises awareness of the health issues that affect men disproportionately and focuses on getting men to become more aware of health problems they may have or could develop and gain the courage to do something about it.
The theme this year is ‘Time For Your MOT’ – which emphasises taking notice of what’s going on in your mind and body. As such, the campaign focuses on taking notice of all the health problems that have been brushed aside due to the pandemic.
In launching the campaign this week, the MHF stated; “We’ve been through a lot these past couple of years with the Covid pandemic which we are beginning to live with. It’s vitally important to be at the top of our game, physically and mentally. So, for Men’s Health Week 2022, (13-19 June), it’s time for men everywhere, to give themselves an MOT. The Macmillan Cancer Charity for example reckon that around 50,000 men have missed a cancer diagnosis during the pandemic. Prostate cancer diagnoses were down not because prostate cancer is getting rarer (it isn’t), but because men weren’t seeing their GPs to begin to get diagnosed. One man in five dies before the age of 65. TOGETHERwe can change that.”
The Men’s Health Forum (MHF) is a charity supporting men’s health in the UK and the CWU Health, Safety and Environment Department has worked closely with the charity for a number of years supporting their campaigns. The MHF has attended CWU Conference, presenting and speaking at the Health and Safety fringe meeting and has attended a number of regional meetings in the past. After a 2-year hiatus during the Covid pandemic we are pleased to see MHF strongly promoting Men’s Health Week again and are happy to give our support.
Men and Mental health
According to the Mental Health Foundation, approximately 1-in-8 men have a common mental health problem such as anxiety, stress, or depression. When left unattended, these problems can worsen and be detrimental to those affected. This is highlighted in current statistics: for example, in the UK, 3 out of 4 suicides are men. Furthermore, suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45. These statistics underline the importance of removing the stigma surrounding men’s mental health, helping men reach out, talk about their problems and seek treatment.
It is no secret that a stigma exists regarding men’s mental health, and sadly some men still feel uncomfortable discussing their problems openly. According to recent statistics, 40% of men won’t talk about their mental health with their friends or family. Therefore, many individuals suffer in silence. While the topic is becoming more prevalent with more awareness campaigns, there is still a need to help men feel comfortable enough to speak out about their mental health.
Identifying the symptoms
There may not always be clear signs you’re dealing with a serious issue, not just a bad day. If your life satisfaction seems to have taken a knock or you are feeling like you want to be alone a lot, there could be more going on. Here are some of the common signs and symptoms associated with mental illness:
- Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness
- Noticeable changes in mood
- Difficulty sleeping
- Avoiding friends and social activities
- Constant low energy
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Ignoring personal hygiene
Men often feel embarrassed or uncomfortable talking about their mental health. But the bravest thing you can do is tackle the issue before it becomes a bigger problem. You are not alone. Many other people are going through the same emotions and struggling to find the best way to cope.
DIY Man MOT
A quick and easy health check members can do at home. The MHF message is ‘Giving your body a once-over doesn’t require any spanners and needn’t cost a penny. If you’re worried about the results of any of the following tests, see your GP without delay.’
Test 1: Is your engine tuned? – Pulse
First, check your pulse. Place the finger of one hand on the thumb side of the tendons running through the opposite wrist. You should be able to feel the radial artery pumping. Count the beats over four 15 second periods and add them up. This is your resting pulse – a good guide to the heart’s efficiency. Joggers and other fitness enthusiasts will get very excited about resting pulse and try to get it as low as possible.
Then, check your recovery rate. Step on and off a step for three minutes (average a step every three seconds) and rest for 30 seconds before taking your pulse again. This is your pulse after exercise.
The table below shows you what sort of results you should be getting for your age:Very FitAgeRestingAfter exerciseTeens/20s59 or less75 or less30s63 or less79 or less40s65 or less81 or less50s+67 or less83 or lessAverageAgeRestingAfter exerciseTeens/20s60-8576-10130s64-8580-10340s66-8982-10550s+68-8984-107UnfitAgeRestingAfter exerciseTeens/20s86+102+30s86+104+40s90+106+50s+90+108+
If you’re in or close to the unfit range, you need to think about whether you’re taking enough exercise. Read the MHF ‘Get Fit’ section on the MHF Website link below. (If you’re older, very overweight or have an existing health problem, check with your GP before starting an exercise programme.)
- The NHS also offers a more detailed ‘What’s Your Heart Age’ tool at this link:- https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-health-check/check-your-heart-age-tool/
Test 2: Are you overloaded? – Weight
The simplest guide to whether you’re carrying too much weight is your waist measurement. This gives you a fair idea of your risk regardless of height. Measure around your belly at the widest point – usually around your belly button:
- over 37 inches, you’re probably overweight and at increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer – check out the MHF ‘Get Fit’ section on the MHF Website link below.
- over 40 inches, you could be obese and at serious risk of the conditions mentioned – talk to a GP or health professional.
If you’re putting on weight, see the MHF ‘Get Fit’ section on the MHF Website link below. But if you have been losing weight for no apparent reason, it may be a sign of something serious, see your GP.
Test 3: Look out for dashboard ‘warning lights’
Check yourself all over for:
- moles changing shape (possible skin cancer),
- unexplained lumps,
- unexplained shortness of breath/breathing difficulties
- unexplained pain (especially in the chest)
- swelling or itching,
- a cough that won’t go away,
- blood where it shouldn’t be (in saliva when you spit or stools when you defecate)
- changes in bowel habits (such as blood in stools, diarrhoea or constipation for no reason, a feeling of bloating or of not having fully emptied your bowels or pain in your stomach or back passage.)
If you have any of these talk to your GP.
Test 4: Wobbly gear stick? – Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile problems are common and an early warning sign of a number of serious health problems including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and depression. They could also be sign of high cholesterol or low testosterone. Again, talk to your GP. (Further information on the MHF Website link below.)
Test 5: Check the water – Prostate Cancer
Is there any change in how often you pee or how easy it is? Do you get up more often at night? Peeing more often, especially at night, and less easily with a weaker flow can be signs of prostate enlargement. Further information on the MHF Website link below. Prostate enlargement is not necessarily a sign of cancer but it needs to be checked. Prostate Cancer UK have a simple cancer risk checker tool at this link:
Peeing more often, especially at night, along with being overweight, tiredness and sores healing more slowly may all be signs of diabetes. Get your blood sugar tested at the GP’s surgery.
Test 6: Day-to-day performance
How are you feeling? Are you motoring along smoothly? Try the ‘How Are You Really’ quiz on the MHF Website link below. And check out the ‘How Are You Hub’.
Test 7: Check your pressure – Blood Pressure
You can get your blood pressure checked at the GP’s surgery – or you can buy a home-tester.
Blood Pressure is given as two figures. The first is when the heart is contracting (systolic), the second when it is resting (diastolic). 120/70 would be fine for a young man. Once the systolic starts getting up towards 140 and/or the diastolic to 90, you need to monitor your Blood Pressure more often. Of course, any stress can raise your blood pressure temporarily but if you’re getting regular readings of 140/90 or more, see your GP without delay.
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 20-35 but if caught in time it can be effectively treated and deaths are rare.
Take advantage of free check-ups
Most men aged 40-74 in England should be regularly invited for an NHS Health Check. It can help you spot upcoming heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, stroke and other health problems. If you haven’t been invited or haven’t had one for five years or more, ask your GP.
Bowel Cancer Screening
Everyone aged 60 to 74 years who is registered with a GP and lives in the UK is automatically sent an NHS bowel cancer screening kit every 2 years. Make sure you take the test. Caught early this cancer is treatable but left untreated it can and will kill!
Key numbers for men:
- 37– a waist size of 37 inches or above puts you at increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
- 150– men should aim for 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week.
- 5– we should aim to eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day.
- 14– maximum 14 units of alcohol a week.
- 10– cigarette smokers die 10 years younger on average than non-smokers.
- 120/80– normal blood pressure.
- 75– 75% of suicides (3 out of 4) are by men.
Key numbers for policy-makers and service providers:
- 1 man in 5 dies before the age of 65.
- 2 men in 5 die before the age of 75.
- 3 out of 4 suicides are by men.
- Men in unskilled work are 3 times more likely to take their own lives than men in senior management.
- The richest men live on average 10 years longer than the least well-off men. Richer area = longer life.
One man in five dies before he is old enough to retire. Together, by knowing our numbers, we can change this statistic.
How can you get involved?
There are several ways you can get involved with supporting men’s health. You can also use this week to educate yourself and those around you. The Men’s Health Forum (MHF) have a vast array of downloadable material. These materials provide information about health issues that affect men in their everyday lives and can be used to help promote conversations/run events in your workplace.
MHF publishes two easy-to-use interactive ‘Man MOT manuals’ which go into this in more detail and provide tools to monitor your health:
visit the Men’s Health Forum website here: – https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/diy-man-mot
- Men’s Health Week 2022 Poster
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer