Body & Fitness

Easy ways to man up to health issues

If the man in your life tends to bury his head in the sand when it comes to health issues, you may just want to leave this page open.

Finding it hard to catch your breath

Being short of breath can be one of the first signs of a heart attack or cardiovascular problem. If being out of breath is also accompanied by symptoms such as a feeling of tightness or pressure in your chest and you have any kind of pain, get medical help urgently – it could be a heart attack.

Going to the loo more than usual

Frequent urination can be a sign of diabetes, because your kidneys are having to work harder to get rid of excess sugar from your body. Needing to go to the loo a lot can also be a symptom of prostate problems. Other signs of issues with the prostate include decreased flow and discomfort in the pelvic area.

Changes to bowel habits

This is a subject most people don’t like to think about, but it’s important. If you’re going to the toilet more than usual or are constipated all the time, you should mention this to your doctor. And as gross as it may sound, have a look in the loo before you flush to make sure there’s nothing wrong with your faeces. If they are black, it could mean you have bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract; pale faeces can mean a problem with your liver or bile duct. And any blood is obviously a warning sign – see your doctor straight away.

Inability to have or maintain an erection

Erectile dysfunction is another subject men don’t like to deal with and often they think it is an inevitable part of getting older. But it can be a sign of a more serious problem, like cardiovascular disease. It can also be the result of stress or depression. And like many health problems, if you get treatment early, you’ll be on the road to recovery quicker.

Frequent heartburn

It is not normal to have heartburn after every meal. That horrible burning sensation in your chest could in fact be gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, also known as acid reflux. This is a result of stomach acid flowing upwards into your oesophagus and if you don’t get it treated, the acid can damage the tissues there. This could eventually lead to ulcers, irritation and in rare cases, cancer. GERD symptoms can also be very similar to signs of heart problems, so it is worth getting them checked out.

Feeling more thirsty than normal

Many blokes put excessive thirst down to being hot or dehydrated and, indeed, it is often a sign of those things. But it can also be a sign of a heart condition or diabetes. Needing to drink more than usual can also be the result of kidney problems, a severe infection or possible internal bleeding.

Unexplained weight loss

Shedding kilos without trying is often seen as a good thing, but it is a warning flag that shouldn’t be ignored. Unintended weight loss can be a sign of many types of cancer. If you’ve lost more than 5kg in a month without changing your diet or exercise habits, it is time to see the doctor.

Feeling unusually tired

Most of us are tired much of the time – it’s a fact of life these days. But feeling unusually fatigued can also be a clue that you have cancer. Fatigue can also be a symptom of depression. Waking up feeling tired may also mean you are not getting adequate sleep thanks to having a condition such as apnoea.

A cough that won’t go away

If you’ve had a cough thanks to having a cold but just can’t shake it, make an appointment to see the doctor. A persistent cough can be a sign of lung cancer. It might also be a serious respiratory illness.

A lump on your chest

Most men don’t realise it is possible for blokes to get breast cancer. Any kind of lump or swelling in your breast area needs to be checked out. Also look out for discolouration or changes to the nipple.

If you are ever worried about a medical issue, always consult a health professional.

WATCH: Kiwi celebs face their fears for prostate cancer

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