Sun, 03 December 2017
You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to feel old. Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel.
With the month of November just past, men’s health has been a hot topic for discussion. It was in 2004 that the Movember Foundation began in Adelaide, Australia, kicking off the annual Movember initiative which sees men growing moustaches throughout the month to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate and testicular cancer and men’s suicide.
Yet, aside from November, the subject of men’s health remains sorely neglected and this can lead to considerable pain and suffering, along with sizeable and avoidable healthcare costs.
Androgen deficiency, or low levels of male sex hormones, ranks high amongst the major men’s health issues in modern medicine. Currently prevalent in 5.6 per cent of men between 30 and 79 years, it is estimated that by the year 2025 there will be a 38 per cent increase in men suffering with this condition.
With ageing, levels of serum testosterone —the male hormone responsible for male health and wellbeing, reproductive function and muscle mass — decline at a rate of 0.4-2.6 per cent per year. This has been associated with declines in bone mass, muscle mass and strength, physical function and frailty, and sexual function. More recently, testosterone decline has been correlated to serious health issues, such as abdominal obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hypertension and heart failure.
The symptoms of low testosterone include tiredness, lack of energy, reduced strength and frailty, loss of libido, decreased sexual performance, depression and mood change. Many of these symptoms are also experienced by men who are ageing normally and hence the clinical diagnosis often becomes challenging.
Diagnosis is finally achieved with detailed evaluation by an expert and related investigations. The treatment involves replacement therapy under close medical supervision and regular surveillance.
Due to lack of awareness and diagnostic dilemmas, testosterone deficiency currently remains an under-treated condition. It is important to address this issue to ensure wellbeing and improved quality of life.
Recognising and preventing men’s health problems is not just a men’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.
Dr Krishanu Das, FRCS (UK, gold medal), MD, FACS (USA), FECSM (European Board), DLS (France) has undertaken an Accredited Fellowship in uro-oncology, endourology and robotic surgery and is a consultant adult and paediatric urologist, andrologist, minimally invasive and transplant surgeon.
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