Men’s health

Dr Thapelo Motshudi
15 June 2022
3 min read

Most men do not place high priority on their health, nor do they focus on available prevention interventions. They ignore health issues until they are noticed by others close to them, including partners, other family members or friends. Even then, most men need to be convinced to have themselves examined by a doctor. Some of the reasons for these behaviours include a belief that one is too busy to consult a health professional or that the problem will go away on its own.

What are some of the top common medical conditions affecting men?

These vary depending on one’s age, lifestyle habits, genetic profile, and health seeking behaviour.

  • Cardiovascular and metabolic diseases
  • Cancers
  • Injuries and accidents (trauma)
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Mental health problems, including suicide
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Sexual dysfunction.

What are the screening tests for men?

Health screening tests are essential for detecting problems early in their development before they become serious. The tests depend on one’s age, as shown by the examples below:

  • Age 18-39

Check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels on a regular basis, undergo annual HIV testing, eye examinations, dental examinations, and testicle examinations for cancer and consult for any sexual related conditions like infertility or ejaculation disorders.

  • Age 40-70

Weight and blood pressure evaluations, mental health, urinary symptoms caused by infections or enlargement of the prostate gland (BPH), prostate & colorectal cancer screening and erectile dysfunction problems.

  • Age 70+

Cardiovascular disease screening: urinary symptoms caused by infections or enlargement of the prostate gland (BPH), prostate and colorectal cancer screening, erectile dysfunction problems, eye examinations, bone health, ECG every 5 years and male hormone levels.

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a man's inability to achieve and maintain an erection of the penis. It is often not a disease, but rather a symptom of other diseases. Erectile dysfunction is not the same thing as impotence although they can exist together at the same time. This is a common condition, and about 50% of all men will experience a form of erectile dysfunction at some time during their lifetime.

Despite this, many men are reluctant to discuss erectile dysfunction with anyone, which tends to make the problem worse because of the increased anxiety. There are many different causes of erectile dysfunction, and these include mental health, nervous system dysfunction, impaired physical health and chemical changes in the body. Treatment depends on the underlying cause, and it can include counselling, medication, devices and very rarely surgery.

What lifestyle changes are helpful?

  • Do not smoke
  • Eat a healthy diet - eat three meals a day consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk products; choose lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; choose foods that are low in saturated fats and added sugars, and control portion sizes
  • Maintain a healthy weight - this lowers the risk of heart disease as well as some cancers
  • Exercise regularly – this helps control weight and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Limit alcohol
  • Get regular good sleep and manage stress
  • Get regular checkups appropriate for your age.

The content in this communication is for information purposes only and is not intended to be detailed advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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