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It's time for your MOT

Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,505 Disability Gamechanger
TW: suicide, self harm, alcohol dependency, cancer

This week has been Men's Health Week.
Men's Health Week (MHW) is designed to give all boys and men access to the information, services and treatment they need to live healthier, longer and more fulfilling lives.

Last year MHW focused on raising awareness of how men were being impacted by Covid-19 and the aftereffects of the pandemic. This year the theme is to highlight the importance of taking stock of your overall health now that the worst of Covid-19 is over.

NHS Professionals

Quick facts

Men's mental health

  • 40% of men said that it would take thoughts of suicide or self-harm for them to seek help
  • Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45
  • 11% of men say they have no friends
  • Almost 9% of men are dependent on alcohol
  • 12% of men said that the last time they were prompted to take time off work to see a GP was because they were 'constantly feeling stressed or under pressure' and 11% because of 'prolonged feelings of sadness'

Men's physical health

  • Men are more likely than women to die prematurely
  • Men have a 14% higher risk of developing cancer, and a 37% higher risk of dying from cancer
  • 24% of men consume the recommended five or more portions of fruit and vegetables daily
  • Men are more likely than women to be overweight
  • Men are more likely than women to be affected by Type 2 diabetes
(Men's Health Forum)

Mens Health Week poster saying No tread left after the pandemic Get yourself back on the road Time for your MOT

Give yourself an MOT

The Men's Health Forum have put together some steps on how to undertake an MOT on yourself. I've included them below, but you can visit their website to read the whole thing

Test 1: Is your engine tuned?

First, check your pulse. Place the finger of one hand on the thumb side of the tendons running through the opposite wrist. You should be able to feel the radial artery pumping. Count the beats over four 15 second periods and add them up. This is your resting pulse – a good guide to the heart’s efficiency. Joggers and other fitness enthusiasts will get very excited about resting pulse and try to get it as low as possible.

Then, check your recovery rate. Step on and off a step for three minutes (average a step every three seconds) and rest for 30 seconds before taking your pulse again. This is your pulse after exercise.
Check your results on the Men's Health Forum website.

Test 2: Are you overloaded? 

The simplest guide to whether you’re carrying too much weight is your waist measurement. This gives you a fair idea of your risk regardless of height. Measure around your belly at the widest point - usually around your belly button:
  • over 37 inches, you’re probably overweight and at increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer - check out our Get Fit section 
  • over 40 inches, you could be obese and at serious risk of the conditions mentioned - talk to a GP or health professional

Test 3: Look out for dashboard 'warning lights'

Check yourself all over for:
  • unexplained lumps, 
  • unexplained shortness of breath/breathing difficulties
  • unexplained pain (especially in the chest)
  • swelling or itching, 
  • a cough that won’t go away, 
  • blood where it shouldn’t be (in saliva when you spit or stools when you ****)
  • changes in bowel habits (such as blood in stools, diarrhoea or constipation for no reason, a feeling of bloating or of not having fully emptied your bowels or pain in your stomach or back passage - more detail here)
If you have any of these talk to your GP.

Test 4: Wobbly gear stick?

Erection problems are common. We can't always get an erection when we want one. What we’re talking about here are regular problems getting an erection or keeping one.

It’s not only your sex life that may be threatened. Erection problems can be an early warning sign of a number of serious health problems including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and depression. They could also be sign of high cholesterol or low testosterone. Again, talk to your GP.  (For a full penis health MOT download our free manual Size Isn't Everything.).

Test 6: Day-to-day performance

How are you feeling? Are you motoring along smoothly? Try our How Are You Really quiz. And check out our How Are You hub. 

Test 7: Check your pressure

You can take your blood pressure at the GP - there’s probably a machine in the surgery waiting room - or you can buy a home-tester. 

BP - as they say in the hospital dramas - is given as two figures. The first is when the heart is contracting (systolic), the second when it is resting (diastolic). 120/70 would be fine for a young man.

Once the systolic starts getting up towards 140 and/or the diastolic to 90, you need to monitor your BP more often. Of course, any stress can raise your BP temporarily but if you’re getting regular readings of 140/90 or more, see your GP.

Anything else

You might want to monitor your balls for any changes. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 20-35 but if caught in time it can be effectively treated and deaths are rare. (More details here.).

Over to you...

Will you be doing the MOT?

Do you feel you take stock of your overall health often enough?

What are you top wellbeing tips?
National Campaigns Officer, she/her

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  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,505 Disability Gamechanger
    If you're struggling with your mental health, please remember that the following organisations are there to support you:
    • Samaritans: call 116 123, or email
    • SHOUT: text SHOUT to 85258
    • CALM: call 0800 58 58 58, or use their live web chat, between 5pm to 12am
    In the case of an emergency, you should always call 999 or visit your nearest A&E department. 
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