It’s Men’s Health Week and we’ve put the spotlight on some of the biggest issues threatening men’s lives.

Heart disease

According to the Heart Foundation 98 Australian men have a heart attack every day; one in seven of these men will die. The underlying cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease (CHD). Some people may not know they have CHD until they have a heart attack. For others, a heart attack can happen after weeks, month or years of treatment for CHD. If you’re over 45 years of age, talk to your doctor about having a heart health check to assess your risk of having a heart attack. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with CHD, this heart health check is important. It’s also important that you learn the warning signs of heart attack, in case you or someone close to you is experiencing them.

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer accounts for approximately 30 per cent of cancers diagnosed each year in Australian men. It is the second most common cause of cancer death, after lung cancer. It has been estimated that around 120,000 Australian men are living with prostate cancer, and it is predicted that the number will increase to 267,000 by 2017. The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia advises men over age 50, or 40 with a family history of prostate cancer, should talk to their doctor about testing for prostate cancer.

Type 2 diabetes

In Australia, nearly two thirds of men are overweight or obese. According to Diabetes Australia this is a key factor in the alarming rise of type 2 diabetes. Yet up to 60 per cent of diabetes cases could be prevented, or at least delayed, by people maintaining a healthy weight. The main keys to long-term weight loss and reducing your waist measurement are healthy eating and regular physical activity. Type 2 diabetes often runs in families.

Depression

According to Beyond Blue, one in eight men will have depression and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives. While women are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, men are less likely to talk about it. This increases the risk of their depression or anxiety going unrecognised and untreated. Depression is a high risk factor for suicide and, in Australia, there are approximately 2,200 suicides each year. 80 per cent are by men – with an average of five men taking their lives every single day. Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 44, significantly exceeding the national road toll. It’s important to remember that depression and anxiety are illnesses, not weaknesses, and effective treatments are available.

Bowel cancer

In Australia, the lifetime risk of developing bowel cancer before the age of 75 years is around one in 19 for men. This is one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world, according to the Department of Health. The risk is greater for people who are aged 50 years and over, have a significant family history of bowel cancer or polyps, have had an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis or have previously had special types of polyps, called adenomas, in the bowel.People at above average risk of bowel cancer should talk to their doctor about relevant screening options.

Men’s Health Week runs from 9 June to 15 June, for more information see www.menshealthweek.org.au