Good Health for a Man Also Means a Happy Life
Dr. Pisuth Lertvilai
Comparative statistics show that men’s life span is at least seven years shorter than women’s, which is true for the world. This phenomenon may come from various factors, like hormonal impact, physical difference and the way we live, comparatively. Physically, men seem to be taller, heavier and stronger than women while, in fact, women’s muscular endurance is actually tougher than that of men. One good example is when a woman has to deliver a baby, which can be a very tough physical workload. Anyway, despite this natural inferiority, men can enjoy a good quality life if they pursue the bevavior I will discuss in this article.
Similar to women, when men reach their 50’s, dementia (brain deterioration) and sarcopenia (loss of body muscle) that I discussed thoroughly in the previous issue can begin to occur. However, since men are usually more active than women, sarcopenia may be less a concern while dementia may be more because of negative behaviours that men are more likely to pursue, like ingesting alcohol, eating more unhealthy food and smoking. And of course, to be physically active is the most important remedy to delay the onset of both conditions.
To be active throughout one’s entire life will not only protect a person from these two dreadful conditions, but will also assist their body’s systems to function properly as well as improve one’s immunity to be less prone to many diseases. In short, to be physically active will boost up one’s quality of life. And please remember that to be active is not difficult at all since this can be begin with brisk walking and then slowly expand and intensify activities along the way.
Now, for men in particular, there are different practices they can pursue to remain healthy. Firstly, after 25 years of age, they should undergo an annual check-up. The standard examination should include a complete blood analysis, liver function test, kidney function test, complete urine analysis, blood sugar and lipid level tests for HDL, LDL and triglycerides, an electrocardiogram (EKG), chest X-ray and uric acid test.
Men should also consider checking other health conditions specific for the male population such as prostate gland status (PSA) as well as two other cancer indicators, colon (CEA) and liver (AFP) as these dreadful forms of cancer are quite common in adult males. Therefore, I will explain about these tests now in more detail.
Let’s start with the prostate gland enlargement examination, or PSA, as this is one of the most common health issues for men. From the demographic data, eight out of 10 men will face this problem after they turn 50. Prostate enlargement by itself is not fatal, however, it will reduce urine flow significantly. Think about when we water a plant using a hose. If someone stepped on the hose, the water would not flow out smoothly or sufficiently. Similar to this, an enlarged prostate will press on the urethra, a tube-like vessel, causing pressure to the tube, preventing normal urination, which can be a real torturing situation for men. Then, one out of eight men will develop prostate cancer, but the good news is that the death rate from prostate cancer is very low.
For men to lower the chance of getting prostate enlargement, it is recommended they take a small amount of lycopene every day. As lycopene is the red natural colour found in tomatoes, to get the higher quantity of lycopene, it’s best to drink tomato juice rather than eat a fresh tomato. Tomato juice is readily available in every supermarket in Thailand; however, the content of lycopene may be different, depending on the method farmers apply to their grow this vegetable and, in some case, a manufacturer may add lycopene powder into their product, which is even better. However, one of the drawbacks is the taste of 99% tomato juice, which may not be palatable for some consumers. So, some companies, like Doi Kham Food Products, Co, Ltd, which was established by the late King Bumiphol Adulyadej, has adjusted the taste to be more flavorful by mixing the tomato juice with other fruit juices like orange and passion fruit while maintaining the content of lycopene per serving to be similar to that of 99% tomato juice, making it highly recommended.
Now, let’s move on to liver health (AFP). As men seem to drink more alcohol than women, which is mainly metabolized by our liver, it appears to be more common for men to develop problems with their liver. To preserve or enhance liver heath, men can do various things, like to drink moderately so their liver manage the intake. It is also a good idea to supplement the body with certain products that can assist liver function such as the extract powder of a plant called milk thistle. Milk thistle contains the active phytochemical ingredient silymarin, which has been widely used in Europe for more than 400 years. There are many types of this supplement available in stores such as milk thistle powder or silymarin powder extract.
The third concern is our colon (CEA). To maintain a heathy colon, men should take good care of their entire digestive system. This means men should ingest good quality food, which means more veggies than animal meat, lower their fat and carbohydrate content, increase fibre intake and water consumption every day. What I would also like to stress to is to take a good bacteria called probiotics regularly. These bacteria include various strains of Lactobacillus that will help regulate a proper environment in one’s digestive system. Recommended products include yoghurt, either creamy or drinking products. Additionally, to enhance the function of these good bacteria, men should consider taking prebiotics, which are the source of energy for these bacteria. Additionally, men over 50 years of age should undergo a colonoscopy that can detect various conditions that occur in the colon at an early stage. If nothing is found, a man can skip this examination for the next five years.
The l, but still so important to enjoy a quality life is to regularly exercise. It is highly likely that men are more physically active than women, so, it is easier to advise them to exercise or play a sport. All the research data confirms the benefit of exercise. As I have mentioned in my previous articles, my advice is find suitable exercise that fits your preferences and body since there are so many kinds of activities and related equipment to select from. For example, if you like swimming, you have to have or find a swimming pool. Then, start slow; no need to intensify your exercise at the beginning; let your body adapt to an increasing workload little by little; never don’t push yourself too hard. The time spent should vary from half an hour to two at least three times a week. It’s also important to stretch first, ie, warm up and after cooling down. Stretching will keep muscles more flexible and improve your range of motion. Stretching is indispensable and should be done every day whether you exercise or not since it will at least get the blood flowing into your muscles and make them more pliable after you stretch.
To maintain a happy life, men should apply the physical, mental and spiritual practices I’ve mentioned as they are indispensable. These recommendations are more or less, quite similar to those for women, but here I have also discussed particular health concerns that men should be aware of. Although it seems most health issues for men are not as complicated as for women, but it must be remembered men seem to succumb to poor health conditions faster and earlier than women. To conclude, women appear to be far superior than men, which may be a good thing for humanity in the long run.