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Health In Numbers

A post for Men’s Health Week

I mentioned in my previous post that, here in the UK, it is Men’s Health Week from 10th to 16th June. I’m not sure if this applies elsewhere but, as the week is organised by the Men’s Health Forum (MHF) – which is a British organisation – I’m guessing maybe it is just us. But if you aren’t from the UK don’t stop reading now: the issue of men’s health is equally valid everywhere.

For this year’s event the MHF is focusing on numbers. Their website shares a number of frightening statistics, some of which I’ll be covering here. They have produced a series of posters which are intended to be displayed in health centres and workplaces, and these make sobering reading. There is a ‘summary’ poster, which is this one:

That doesn’t cover the full set of numbers the MHF are highlighting, but you can see very quickly from it that there are many things we men should be taking better care of. I’m probably typical, in that I need to pay much more attention to my physical health. I am moving home shortly, but once that has settled down I’ll be seeing the dietician at the local hospital to get some advice on improving my diet. Initial contact has been made and they are due to call me after I move to fix an appointment. That will only be the start of it, though, as I know I need to do much more.

One of the other posters tells us of the number 20:

As if I needed any further warning about that, I got it in tragic and dramatic fashion yesterday. Justin Edinburgh, the manager of one of the three football teams I support – Leyton Orient – suffered a cardiac arrest last Monday and passed away yesterday. He had just led the club to probably its most successful season ever, and was looking forward to taking us back into the English Football League. He had just returned from watching one of the clubs he used to play for – Tottenham Hotspur, another of my three – play in the Champions League final, and had been to the local gym with his wife.  He was fit, took good care of himself in a stressful job, and had everything to look forward to. Justin was 49. If you ever needed a reminder of the fragility of life, and of the validity of the MHF’s statistic, there it is.

Those life expectancy figures are a little scary for me. One in five of us men dies before reaching 65 (or even 50, in Justin’s case), and two in five before reaching 75. I’m comfortably in that range, and I know I need to take much better care of myself. Does that apply to you, too? It is never too late to do something about it!

Whilst most of the key numbers concern physical health, the MHF does include a couple of mental health statistics too. The first of these is this:

This raises the huge issue of social inequality, which is far too complex for this post. Sadly, I don’t think the current political situation in this country is conducive to removing the barriers that prevent the achievement of social equality – indeed, I believe we have a government which is doing its best to widen the gap between those who have and those who don’t. Of course, I recognise that to be a sweeping generalisation, and social inequality has existed for thousands of years, so it isn’t likely to be resolved any time soon. But it does put into context how hard we all need to be working towards improving our health – both physical and mental.

A further terrifying statistic for men lies in the other MHF poster which focuses on mental health:

Despite the depression I have often chronicled here I have never, ever, had any suicidal ideation. Again, this is a complex issue, and various reasons have been suggested as to why this might be, but if you ever have a thought like that please, please seek help before it is too late. And you don’t have to be male to do that!

If you’ve read this far and are female, and are wondering ‘what about us?’ I would contend that as the stereotypical male buries his head in the sand about health issues – except, of course, for manflu – we need a kick up the wotsit to make us take notice. Physical and mental health are important for everyone of whatever gender, and I think it is good to see a focus on those who that stereotype says might well be in denial about their need to improve their lifestyles. I know I do: I just hope I can actually do more than just talk about it. And I suspect that is equally true of many others.

Please do follow the link I gave earlier to the MHF website. They do a good deal more than run this awareness week, and there are a number (see what I did there?) of useful resources available to you on the site. They say that they have 1.4m visits each year: that doesn’t happen if people don’t think it worth their time and effort.

[I have put this post under my ‘Dates To Note’ category. This was a series I ran through 2013, with occasional returns since then. All of the posts I have placed in that category are available – in reverse chronological order – from the menu at the top of the page. Go on, click the link – you may find something of interest!]

 

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  1. June 10, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    Clive, for some reason my computer does not want to like anything lately. Please know that I not only like this post, I love it! You are absolutely correct that we ALL need to have the information that will help us live better and longer. We all need a kick in the asteriks now and then!

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 10, 2019 at 3:18 pm

      Thank you, Gael, I appreciate your kind words. Yes, we should all take more care: I really do need to take my own advice on that! On the computer issue have you tried a different browser? That sometimes happens to me on my iPad when I’m in Safari, but switching to Edge has always worked instead. Just don’t ask me why!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. June 9, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing this great post, Clive. I am very interested in men’s health as I have a dad, husband and two sons to care for. Have a good week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 9, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      Thanks Robbie. That’s a lot of manflu to look after! You have a good week too 😊

      Like

  3. June 9, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    Yes, men do tend to be in denial about health issues, although Sam’s taking more care of himself now he’s older than he did in his younger days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 9, 2019 at 4:19 pm

      A point you made well in a recent post! Good to hear that Sam is taking care – our bodies give us plenty of clues if we take the trouble to look.

      Liked by 1 person

      • June 9, 2019 at 4:23 pm

        Especially as we age. The excesses of the first half come to bite us in the second half. Life is terribly short when you think about it. Sam’s given up eating bread, cake, biscuits, cheese, chocolate, pastry and has given up caffeine and fizzy drinks. It’s a good start! He doesn’t seem to bothered about it. It’s all an attitude of mind.

        Liked by 1 person

      • June 9, 2019 at 4:41 pm

        He’s doing well. I suspect the dietician might be suggesting something similar for me when I see her!

        Liked by 1 person

      • June 9, 2019 at 4:44 pm

        We both have the same diet, and we feel much better for giving up bread and cake. I’m dairy intolerant, so haven’t eaten dairy for years. We stick to lean meat, vegetables, fruit and salad. It doesn’t bother us that we don’t eat sweet things. The best thing to do is consider anything sweet as poison to the system, and you can give up cake etc quite easily then!

        Liked by 1 person

      • June 9, 2019 at 4:48 pm

        Sounds drastic! I’ll see how I go 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • June 9, 2019 at 4:53 pm

        Since giving up bread and cake I don’t feel so tired. I’ve also lost a few pounds, which had started to creep on. We buy crispbreads and rice cakes and add humous to them for a snack. Convince yourself that all sugary stuff is poison to the system (which it is), and after a few weeks you won’t want to eat it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • June 9, 2019 at 4:56 pm

        Not sure I have the willpower, but I know you’re right!

        Liked by 1 person

      • June 9, 2019 at 5:37 pm

        Chocolate has over 300 chemicals in it, some of which make us crave more of the stuff. If you can push on through the sugar and caffeine withdrawal headaches and achy joints, you’ll feel better about a month later.

        Liked by 1 person

      • June 9, 2019 at 6:03 pm

        I hope you’re right! If I manage it there may be a post or two in this 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • June 9, 2019 at 8:23 pm

        Go for it. I guarantee you’ll feel better!

        Liked by 1 person

      • June 9, 2019 at 8:37 pm

        We’ll see…..😊

        Like

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