Men Your Health Matters | FinPrufe Wealth BlueStar | Sanlam Financial Planners Somerset West

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Men, your health matters!

November is Men’s Health Awareness Month – and it’s never been more important to be vigilant about it.

Health is our greatest wealth, which is why it is so important to take it seriously. But when it comes to men, it seems taking care of their health does not come naturally.

According to the World Health Organisation, women generally live longer than males – on average by six to eight years. Why? “This difference is partly due to an inherent biological advantage for the female, but it also reflects behavioural differences between men and women.” Harvard Medical School, in an article about men and women’s health, notes: “Women think about health, and they do more about it. Women are more likely than men to have health insurance and a regular source of health care. In general, men who have the most traditional, macho views about masculinity are the least likely to get routine check-ups and necessary medical care.”

It’s time to flip this flippant behaviour on its head – and ensure that men make health a top priority.

3 Important health checks that all men should undergo routinely:

1. A blood pressure test

In South Africa, men are at high risk for heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack. High blood pressure is one of the leading signs that you may be entering dangerous territory when it comes to your cardiovascular health. A blood pressure test is quick and easy – you can have it done at most pharmacies, Clicks and Dis-Chem, or through your doctor. Include cholesterol, body mass index (BMI) and glucose tests while you’re at it, for peace of mind.

2. A trip to the dermatologist or a skin biopsy

South Africa has a very high rate of skin cancer, among both men and women. You don’t need to be sunburned to be at risk of skin cancer – even 15 minutes of exposure to the sun can do permanent damage. Using SPF daily is a non-negotiable (yes, in winter too), and doing regular skin self-examinations (checking for moles, discolouration, etc.) is key. A trip to the dermatologist is also recommended, where a skin analysis can be performed to highlight any concerns, followed by a skin biopsy if necessary, to determine if you have skin cancer.

3. A PSA test

Prostate cancer is the most common (non-skin cancer) cancer that affects men. Men often shudder at the thought of what used to be a rather invasive test, but a rectal examination is no longer required to identify issues. According to CANSA, annual prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing is essential to help detect prostate cancer early, and it is performed through a simple blood test.

You can never be over cautious when it comes to your health – so take the time this month to book your important health checks and stay on top of your wellness. And while you’re at it, make sure that you have sufficient medical cover in place – Sanlam offers various policies to suit your needs and life stage; if you don’t have anything in place yet, contact your financial adviser today.

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