When it comes to men and their health, recent studies show that eight in ten will endure an illness rather than seek medical help, while more than a third feel too embarrassed to go to the doctor. But could your man’s ‘minor health issue’ actually be a sign of something more serious?
From a persistent cough to memory loss and even urinary issues, specialist in men's health, Dr Amir Khan discusses the important signs your man shouldn’t ignore.
The nine signs to watch out for
1. Memory loss
Dr Amir says: “When men become forgetful, they immediately fear the worst and are so nervous to be diagnosed with dementia that they avoid the doctor.There are different types of dementia that can be treated and it might not even be dementia, there are lots of reversible causes to memory loss such as vitamin deficiency and an underactive or overactive thyroid so it's best to get checked.”
2. A persistant cough
Dr Amir says: “If you’re a smoker and have had a sore throat for three weeks or more, it could be throat cancer. Non-smokers should also get checked if a cough sticks around for longer than three weeks.”
3. A hoarse voice
Dr Amir says: “Similarly, if you don’t have a pain in your throat but your voice has changed, there could be cancerous cells sitting on your lungs. Again, smokers are more at risk.”
4. Chest pain
Dr Amir says: “There are different types of chest pain such as upper back chest pain and right sided chest pain and even a single episode needs to be monitored as it could be linked to cardiovascular disease, lung cancer or emphysema. Men are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease because oestrogen protects women from the illness."
Dr Amir says: “If you’re 55 or above and are experiencing new indigestion or indigestion that has worsened, then you need to visit your GP immediately as it could be an early sign of stomach cancer.”
6. Change in bowel habits
Dr Amir says: “ A change in bowel habits, abdominal pain, unintentional weight loss and blood in stools could be linked to pancreatic cancer. If your stool changes and you’re 50 or above, you need to see a doctor to rule out the serious illness.”
7. Erectile dysfunction
Dr Amir says: “If you’re able to get a morning erection and masturbate to climax but are having problems with your partner then the issue is psychological and your doctor can advise you on how to combat the problem. If it’s a physical issue, then it could be linked to cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes.”
8. Urinary issues
Dr Amir says: “Having trouble going to the loo could mean that there is a blockage stopping the flow which is linked to prostate cancer. For men aged 60 and over, new onset of back pain can also be linked to cancer. Men worry about the examination but it only takes 10 seconds.”
9. Poor circulation
Dr Amir says:“If you can’t walk for long without experiencing a pain in your calves, then your body is telling you that there is a blockage and it’s struggling to get enough blood to your feet. If you ignore these issues, you could lose a limb.”