Men continue to die earlier than women in all of New Zealand’s top ten causes of death, and the health statistics for Maori men continue to lag behind non-Maori. Every three hours a Kiwi male dies from a potentially preventable disease. One in eight New Zealand men will experience serious depression during their lifetime, and the suicide rate for New Zealand men is three times that of women.
Dr Graeme Washer, Medical Director of the Men’s Health Trust, says it’s important to remind men that the problems they face in their lives – physical and mental – are fixable if they learn the really simple things they can do to improve their day-to-day wellbeing and overall long-term health.
“It’s important not to generalize as many men are proactive about their health, but the typical attitude is ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’ and ‘I don’t need to worry about it because I’m coping OK’. The problem is that the male psyche wants to project an image that ‘everything is fine, I’m staunch, I’m okay and I can hold it all in’, then health professionals like me see these guys when the wheels come off.”
“It’s not rocket science,” he says. “Good health self-management is simple and something guys can learn and practice. It comes down to eating smarter and eating smaller portions, understanding more about basic nutrition, doing a combination of regular load-bearing and aerobic exercise, maintaining good human relationships with a couple of really good male friends, and having a coach (doctor or other health professional) to get a better understanding about health matters specific to yourself.”
Dr Washer says if men want to learn how to fix their car or something else, they’ll go and learn about it, and the same approach should apply to learning about their health. “It’s all about men educating themselves and understanding the simple things they can do to live a long and healthier life”.
That’s where your Unichem Pharmacist can help in taking that first step to becoming proactive in managing your health.
At Unichem you can:
Have a blood pressure check
Talk to your Unichem Pharmacist about a simple men’s health assessment that covers a number of health and lifestyle questions and provides some key actions to help you take control of your health and wellness
Ask your Unichem Pharmacist for a personalized weight management or quit smoking program
Get a bowel health screening test