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8 Essential Health Checks Every South African Man Should Do This November

Nov 7, 2023 | Life

November is Men’s Health Awareness Month, and it’s a great time for South African men to take stock of their health and schedule essential health screenings. To be clear, essential health checks (or screenings) are tests carried out by a medical doctor to check for specific diseases and health conditions. The point is to help detect potential health problems early in order to make these issues easier to treat – and save lives. 

The most common health issues facing South African men include prostate cancer, heart disease and stroke, diabetes, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, colorectal cancer, testicular cancer, and skin cancer.  

To help you do what you can to look after your health, here is a list of the most common health issues that South African men face, including where to seek help. 

Heart Disease and Stroke 

Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading killers in South Africa, and statistically speaking, men are more prone to these issues due to a lack of awareness, family history, and inactive lifestyles.  

Typical preventative measures include a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management, but importantly, you need to go for regular check-ups with your healthcare provider. You’ll be able to go for checks at your local clinic or your GP and get on top of any issues leading to heart disease and stroke. 

Prostate Cancer 

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting men’s health. It occurs in the small gland that produces seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm, and if detected early, when the cancer is confined to the prostate gland, there’s an excellent chance of successful treatment.  

You can book a screening with a urologist, or possibly at your local clinic.  

Testicular Cancer 

Another common cancer affecting men is testicular cancer, the symptoms of which include a lump, hardness, enlargement, pain or any other change in one or both testicles. It’s easy enough to do a self-examination, best done after a warm shower to find the cancer in its early stages.  

If you present with any symptoms, visit your doctor immediate. Your doctor (or referred specialist) will most likely perform an ultrasound or order a blood test to detect the proteins produced by the cancer cells and confirm the diagnosis. 

Colorectal Cancer  

This is the third most common cancer in men, but the good news is that if it is picked up early on, there’s a high chance of successful treatment. Essentially, a colorectal cancer screening involves a colonoscopy or a stool test, typically performed by a gastroenterologist. 

Cholesterol Levels  

What you might not know is that cholesterol exists in every cell in your body, helping your brain, skin, and other organs perform optimally. That said, high cholesterol levels can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke by causing your blood vessels to get stiffer, narrower or clogged.  

Thankfully, cholesterol screening is a simple blood test that your local clinic, GP, and even some pharmacies can check for you. 

Blood Pressure  

In South Africa, high blood pressure is a more regular issue among men, often leading to quite serious complications, such as heart disease and stroke. The good news is that a simple test performed at your local clinic or pharmacy, if not at your GP will help you find out if you have high blood pressure. 

Glucose Levels 

One of the biggest problems with diabetes, is that it remains undiagnosed in the majority of people who have it. This is a major problem in South African, with over 4.6 million people living with it, whether they know it or not. Diabetes can lead to blindness, heart attack and stroke, kidney failure, and amputation. In men, it can also lead to impotence. While there are preventative measures, such as a healthy diet and regular exercise, it’s best to go for regular check-ups with your GP or at your local clinic. 

HIV  

HIV is a serious health problem that affects many South African men, and all it takes is a blood test at your local clinic or with a healthcare provider to diagnose. If left untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS so we urge you to go for regular screenings.  

Feeling informed? 

The fact is that men’s health is a crucial issue in South Africa, because by and large, men tend to ignore their health until it’s too late. While this may be a somewhat stereotypical statement, there is a ring of truth buried within the cliché. It’s vital to have yourself checked out – it could save your life. 

Being aware of these common health issues, taking preventative measures, and going for regular screenings is the most assured way of taking control of your health and reduce your risk of developing life-threatening conditions.  

Make sure you schedule regular check-ups with a healthcare provider, whether it’s with your local clinic or GP, and seek help if you have any symptoms or concerns. 

Don’t wait until it’s too late to take care of your health.

Remember that, in addition to valuable tips like these, AA Inform can provide assistance with free tools and resources, including drafting your Last Will and Testament and obtaining Life Insurance.

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