International Men’s Day is organized worldwide on November 19 every year, to emphasize the role and importance of men, as well as recognize their valuable contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care and the environment. The concept of a universal day to award the global male population was initiated by Thomas Oaster in 1992, and while the event was at first observed on February 7, the date was later changed to November 19 by Jerome Teelucksingh. Jerome chose this particular date not only because it was the birth date of his father but also to commemorate the victory of the men’s football team of Trinidad and Tobago from where he hailed, since the sportsmen had united the country by qualifying for the FIFA World Cup on that day in 1989.
International Men’s Day not only honours men for their efforts in playing positive role models in society and promoting equality and oneness amongst people but also highlights the significance of all aspects of men’s health – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. In this regard, it is often found that men tend to ignore going to the doctor on a regular basis, which leads to delayed diagnosis of illnesses and even a slightly shorter life span than their female counterparts. However, physicians advise men of all age groups to consult a healthcare professional at least once a year, in addition to carrying out self-evaluations of their wellbeing and vital signs, to guarantee optimal overall health.
5 Essential Self-Exams For Men To Remain Healthy And Lower The Risk Of Disease:
Body Mass Index (BMI)
The body weight of a man at any age correlates with health and an easy way to determine it is by calculating the BMI. BMI stands for Body Mass Index and is the ratio of the weight in kilograms (kg) to the height in meters squared (m2). BMI in the range of 18.5 to 24.9 is healthy, 25 to 29.9 indicate overweight and above 30 implies obesity. Additionally, men should also gauge their belly fat by measuring the area around their waist aligning with the belly button. If it is above 37 inches, it is considered to be large. Having a high BMI and belly size tends to increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and hence men must maintain healthy body weight with a normal waistline.
Not just older men above the age of 40, but even youngsters in their 20s and 30s can develop testicular cancer. The testicles are a pair of male reproductive organs that produce the male hormone testosterone, as well as sperm and are situated inside the scrotum – a loose baggy layer of skin beneath the penis. Testicular cancer is characterised by the uncontrolled growth of malignant cells in either one or both testicles and is treatable if diagnosed in the early testes. Hence, doctors advise men to do a testicular self-exam regularly right from puberty onwards, after a shower, when the scrotum is relaxed and report any signs of odd lumps, thickenings or changes in the size of the testes.
Oral health is a crucial aspect of overall wellbeing since disorders of the teeth, mouth and gums could lead to cancer and cardiac issues if they are not treated on time. While brushing the teeth in the morning, healthcare professionals advise men to open the mouth wide and carefully observe if there is any bleeding from the gums, receding gum line, sores/swellings in the mouth or teeth that are loosely attached and appear to be on the verge of falling. In most cases, gum anomalies and loose teeth indicate gingivitis and periodontitis. Inflamed lumps in the mouth with white or red patches could imply oral cancer in the early stages. Doctors strongly advise men to report these symptoms of unusual masses at once, to ensure timely diagnosis and effective treatment of mouth and throat cancers.
Heart health is very important for men of all age groups. Moreover, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality in both men and women around the world, with heart attacks occurring in men right from their 20s. Checking the pulse during a period of rest is a simple method to ascertain heart health. This can be done by placing the first two fingers of one hand at the base of the wrist of the other hand, counting the pulse for 10 seconds and then multiplying the number by 6. Since the normal heart rate for men and women is 60 to 100 beats per minute, a value within this range is normal while something higher or lower could signify cardiac anomalies.
Medical experts advise men of all age groups to do a total body exam once a month to spot any abnormal lumps, new moles or changes in any old moles, as these could indicate skin cancer. Ailments such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma arise often in both men and women, with males working outdoors or travelling frequently under exposure to direct sunlight for a long time being at higher risk. To detect skin cancer early, doctors recommend men inspect the skin on their back, face, neck, torso, arms and even on the scalp and feet, to look for any abnormalities. If men spot any moles with changes in size, shape, colour, thickness or lumps with bleeding, itching, crusting, they must consult with a dermatologist for prompt diagnosis and treatment.