Banner Top


Feature Story Title


Feature Story


Age may be just a number, but knowing how to check your man's health at any number will help add more years.

by Ivan Olegario, M.D.

JUNE 2012

The caring and nurturing nature of women seems to compel them to take responsibility for the health of their men: sons, boyfriends, husbands, fathers. Women become the “doctors-on-call” at home. Unfortunately, many carry this responsibility without the medical degree. Hopefully this article can help them better understand the men in their life.

Twenties and 30s

This could be a husband, son, or boyfriend. He is at his physical peak, and his life is on overdrive. His motto could be, “Work hard; play hard.” This means that the focus of his life is a fast, active lifestyle, which may lead to:

• stress;

• unhealthy vices;

• little sleep;

• unhealthy eating habits, such as fast food meals; and

• sexually transmitted diseases.

A visit to a GP is a good first step to keeping a young man’s health in check. Many hospitals offer gift certificates that cover executive check-ups for the working professional. These check-ups may include a physical examination and lab tests to check for common health risks in the young adult male.

Usually, these check-ups screen for heart disease and diabetes, which can begin even in this young age as a result of work stress, vices and unhealthy lifestyle. Yearly heart checks can include blood pressure measurement and blood cholesterol level monitoring, as well as taking height and weight to compute his body mass index (BMI). This is the quotient of his weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters. A healthy BMI is from 20 to 25 kg/m2.

The risk of cancer also begins to rise, in particular, testicular cancer. This is one of the most common cancers in men until the age of 35. He can examine his own testicles for any new masses. However, a physician is still the best person to detect a testicular mass.

He should also get screening tests for some sexually transmitted diseases, such as hepatitis B, which can be screened every five years. Avoid the quarrel of convincing him to do this—just automatically include this in his executive check up.

When he’s in his 40s

Life may begin at 40 for women, but for men, this number heralds a barrage of health problems. The stresses of work life in his 30s may get worse in his 40s and eventually take its toll. The risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes also increase with age, so the checks for these should be continued.

If he has a family history of eye problems, he should also get his eyes checked every three to five years for glaucoma, a condition where the pressure inside the eye slowly increases, and may lead to progressive blindness. Eye checks can also detect other vision problems that may lead to chronic headaches or injuries.

This is when the dreaded “midlife crisis” usually creeps in, and it’s more common among men. It’s a period of seeming depression that some people eventually cope with, although sometimes with much collateral damage. Help your man identify if he is in midlife crisis with the help of a medical professional. A psychiatrist is better equipped to help, but may be too intimidating for the notorious male ego at the start. At least, a general practitioner can do a mini-psychological evaluation to identify if a professional referral to a psychiatrist is necessary.

Check-ups for your man in his 50s

The risk of colon cancer becomes significant during the 50s, so a fecal occult blood test should be added to his tests every five years. The risk for prostate cancer slowly creeps up, too. Discuss this with him gently—his family history may be a good starting point to get him at ease with the idea. He will have to agree to a digital rectal exam and prostate-specific antigen test for his prostate every five years.

Hearing problems also become more common, and your man may have slowly adjusted to the progressive weakening of his hearing, so he may not notice it. “I had to repeat everything I say twice,” recounts Mayla about her husband Hector. “And then magagalit siya dahil makulit daw ako. Eh siya naman yung hindi makarinig,” she adds.

An audiometric test may be necessary to detect small degrees of hearing loss. Early detection may allow your doctor to treat the problem, or recommend hearing aids early, and prevent marital discord.

For tips on how to get your man to see a doctor, grab your copy of the June issue of HealthToday magazine at bookstores and newsstands.

Checking up on your man

blog comments powered by Disqus

Banner Bottom