Men often take their health for granted. Most of the time, preventable health problems can be treated and cured if detected early. This is why it's important for men of all ages (including boys and youths) to go for regular check-ups. Men who are over 40 are advised to go at least once a year.
Making daily healthy choices will improve your health and quality of life.
- Eat healthy. Nutritious foods give you energy and may lower your risk of certain diseases. Focus on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free milk products.
- Stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can raise your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Eat healthy foods, control portion sizes, and be active to keep your weight in check.
- Be smoke-free. Smoking is linked to many of the leading causes of death, and disease including cancer, lung disease, and stroke. Also, avoid second-hand smoke.
- Know your family history to determine whether you’re at risk of getting cancer. The Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) advises men between the ages of 40 and 50 to visit their doctor annually.
- Get routine exams and screenings. You should have your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol checked regularly, and every year if you’re over 40. You should also go for regular screenings for prostate cancer. These sorts of screenings help to pick up any potential problems even before symptoms appear.
- Know the signs, symptoms and risk factors for prostate cancer as well as testicular cancer.
- Have an HIV test done. It’s essential to go for an HIV test if:
- you’ve never had one before,
- you’ve changed your sex partner since your last test,
- you had unprotected sex,
- you and your partner want to have a baby,
- you have TB,
- you’re on treatment for an STI, or
- you've had more than 1 sexual partner at the same time.
- Take medications as prescribed by your doctor. Thousands of deaths could be prevented each year by taking medication as prescribed. Make sure to follow your doctor's instructions for all medications, including those that help control conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Avoid heavy drinking. Heavy drinking can lead to many problems, including high blood pressure, various cancers, psychological problems, interpersonal violence and accidents. For men 65 and younger, drinking in moderation means no more than 2 drinks per day. Men older than 65 should have no more than one drink a day.
- Manage stress. Balancing work and family obligations can be challenging. But it's important to protect your mental and physical health.
- Get moving. Regular exercise is 1 of the most important things you can do for your health. You should do at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. You can wash your car, you can walk with your kids, or you can take up a sport.
- Know your risks. Learn how your lifestyle and work environment affects your risk of health problems.
- Get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep can affect your mood and your health. See your doctor or visit your clinic if you think you have a serious problem. Sleep apnoea, a common problem in which your breathing stops briefly can increase the risk of accidents and certain health problems.
Start taking care of your health by going for free testing and screenings at your local clinic today or join us at the outdoor activations on 3 March at the Liberty Promenade Mall, Mitchells Plain, from 11am to 3pm.
This outdoor initiative follows a series of health activations which the Department has embarked on over the last year. Previously, health activations around Women’s Health and HIV/AIDS brought much success and allowed the Department to reach those people who are either reluctant to go to their clinic, or who’s circumstances are such that they can't go to the clinic for a check-up.
Western Cape Department of Health Men's Health campaign