5 Health Checks For Men Who Don’t Like Doctors
When was the last time time you saw a doctor? Chances are, you can barely remember. Men are 20% less likely to seek medical advice than women, and one in five men haven’t visited their GP in a year.
A word of caution if you're dodging the doc: GPs are going to strike you off your records if you've not been seen for a maximum of five years. We get it, we really do. You see your body as something that needs repairing when it’s faulty, as opposed to requiring a constant cycle of maintenance. It’s hard to get time off work, and asking your boss if you can “go to the doctor’s” isn’t really something you want to do anyway.
(Related: how to make the most of your time with your GP)
Which is whyMen’s Healthconstructed this holistic self-test. It’s free, it’s private and you don’t need an appointment.
Men don’t like to ask for help. We hate it. Of the guys who actually do visit their GP, 80% of appointments are initiated by their partners. Even male cancer helplines get more calls from women. But this is not a telling off. This is a DIY physical that will alert you to any minor glitches in your health, all without spending half a working day in a musty waiting room.
This is the first of five tests devised to identify common male health complaints in the comfort of your own home. We’re going to start with a simple urine test:
What you do
1) Next time you need to urinate, get two clear cups or glasses – preferably not the best crystal she uses when her parents come to visit – and take them into the bathroom. Lock the door.
2) Start ‘going’ in the first glass until it’s a couple of inches full. Then stop the flow and release the majority – but not all – of your bladder into the toilet.
3) As you near the end, pick up the second glass and fill that with a couple of inches, too. Keep the two glasses separate so as not to confuse which one is which.
4) Hold both samples up to a window or light. Don’t tip them. You’re looking for floating particles in the urine, making a comparison between the two glasses.
More particles in the first glass means you might have an STD. “While a few floating bits is natural – uric crystals or metabolic debris – this can be a sign of inflammation in your urethra as a result of the early stages of an STD,” says Asher. If you’ve had unprotected sex recently and thought that you got away with it, get yourself to the clinic for a check-up to know for sure.
(Related: our ultimate guide to condoms)
More particles in the second glass means it could be ureaplasma. This is a little more dodgy we’re afraid. “Ureaplasma is a form of posterior urethritis – a deeper inflammation of the urethral tract,” says Asher. This requires a longer course of treatment and you should request a test upon completion to confirm that the infection has completely gone. Once it has, though, you’re well and truly back in the clear.
Size up your weight
What you do
1) Wrap a tape measure around your waist in line with your belly button. Write down the figure (in cm).
2) Now pass the tape measure around the widest point at the top of your glutes and record the result.
3) Divide the first number by the second and write it down. This number is your waist-to-hip ratio.
Congratulations. You have just conducted one of the most important self-tests you can do. Your waist-to-hip ratio should be 0.9 or below. Anything above that and you have a level of central abdominal obesity that puts you at higher risk of Type 2 diabetes, gout, arterial disease and even cancer.
(Related: how do I know if I'm overweight?)
Don’t panic, though. Instead, for complete peace of mind, get yourself properly tested for blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar. “Don’t be tempted to buy home body-fat percentage devices,” warns Asher. “The cheaper ones are not at all reliable.”
What you do1) Read the quote below out loud (advisably not in the company of others).
2) Repeat immediately.
Did you notice any shortness of breath while you were talking, or were some of the words coming out ‘ragged’ towards the end of the sentence? Did you find yourself having to take a few seconds to catch your breath in between the first and the second reading? If so, you may have asthmatic tendencies.
Do not be alarmed, but do be aware that asthmatics are notorious for underestimating their symptoms – even those who have just diagnosed themselves. Book an appointment with your GP for a lung capacity examination and look forward to breathing a sigh of relief.
Could you tellthe difference between a heart attack and ordinary indigestion? Follow our four-step foolproof guide:
1) Have your colleagues remarked that you’re looking unwell or ‘grey’ in the last half an hour?
2) Are you sweating? (Don’t worry if you’ve just left the gym.)
3) Are you experiencing mild chest pains: a dull burning sensation or any ‘tightness’?
4) Have you called an ambulance yet? If not, why not?
“First things first: it’s not indigestion,” says Asher. “Too many heart attacks are confused for heartburn in the crucial first minutes.” Chest pain, shortness of breath and clamminess are enough of a reason to drop the Rennies, swallow your pride and call 999. “Better still, dial 112 from your mobile.
Video: 10 Warning Signs Your Heart Isn't Working Properly
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