It’s important that men across Australia access health services to prevent problems and manage health issues[2]. Men are notorious for neglecting their physical and mental health, but they need to know that it’s okay to seek help for anything. It’s also better to have a check-up that reveals nothing serious, than to miss the opportunity of preventing a serious health problem.

Each hour 4 men in Australia die from potentially preventable health conditions[1]. Biological factors do play some part, but most threats to men’s health are illnesses linked to lifestyle choices and behaviour. As the reality is, men who eat nutritious food, exercise, undertake regular activity, keep track of their health and get prompt treatment for health problems have a better chance of a healthy and long life[1].

Starting in your 20s and in your 30s, men should have an annual check-up which includes (and carries on through all decades)[1]:

From age 40:

  • Men with a history of prostate cancer should discuss prostate health with their GP
  • Blood test for liver and kidney function
  • Eye check
  • Heart check to determine future risk

From age 50:

  • Bowel cancer screening
  • Prostate cancer screening
  • Hearing test

From age 60-70:

  • Pneumonia shot
  • Bone density check
  • Eye check – especially for glaucoma and cataracts

From age 80:

  • Assessment for risk of falls (balance, feet, footwear)
  • Immunisations if recommended by GP
  • Waterworks or bowel issues

Helping the men in your life:

Improving men’s health outcomes is a two-way process involving men, women, and families, and health services combined[2]. Ladies – be proactive about helping the men and boys in your life get the help they need. Discuss with them the importance of having regular check-ups and be persistent. Remind them they can talk to anyone they feel comfortable with: their wife/partner, friends, workmates, GP. You can also phone hotlines for help and speak with professionals to determine the best course of action[2].

Men need to know that they need to get medical help if they feel unwell or notice unusual symptoms or have a problem that won’t resolve. Remind men, it’s okay to seek help. No-one should bury their problems or try to do everything on their own. They may need to work hard to get the help needed to manage their life, work, family, and financial needs[2]. It’s also good for parents to encourage their sons to express their feelings.

Telehealth and Online Appointment Bookings: Support easy access and info for preventative health

Why aren’t men getting care? For men who say it’s inconvenient to make time or get to a doctor, tech is the solution. Healthcare has never been more accessible to find appointments with healthcare providers when and where you need it, thanks to tech like HealthEngine’s telehealth and online appointment bookings.

  •  Telehealth is a great place to start and appointments can be accessed 24/7.  Check with your regular GP for telehealth first or if you don’t have one, you can search and find someone near you on HealthEngine.  You can find psychologists here too after talking with your GP about mental health questions or concerns for in-person or telehealth appointments.
  • A face-to-face visit with GP may be needed as a follow-up to telehealth.
  • With online appointment booking on HealthEngine, you can book appointments when convenient to you.  If you need to find a GP, you can find a practice close to home or work and search by male, or female GP if you have a preference.  You can also see if a practice is a bulk or privately billed.

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References:

[1] Foundation 49. F49 Men’s Health Toolkit. Accessed 9 June 2020. http://www.49.com.au/assets/Resources/F49-Mens-Health-ToolKit.pdf

[2] Men’s Health Week. Male friendly services. Accessed 9 June 2020. http://www.menshealthweek.org.au/health-info/male-friendly-services