Men can make a different to their health with small changes and not being afraid to talk.
That’s the message from top Blackpool bosses for Men’s Health Week, which runs until Father’s Day on Sunday.
Life expectancy for men in the resort is the worst in the country and health chiefs want to try to tackle the issue of why men seem reluctant to open up about their health and well-being.
This Men’s Health Week focuses on mental health, urging men to open up more and seek help, with the tagline: “You only live once, so talk to someone.”
Just 23 per cent of men would see their GP is they felt low for more than two weeks, compared to 33 per cent of women, according to research by charity Mind.
And those in charge of health in Blackpool say the message applies not just to mental health but to overall well-being.
Coun Ivan Taylor, Blackpool Council cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Life expectancy for men in Blackpool is among the worst in England.
“However, we shouldn’t just accept that.
“Every man in Blackpool can make a real difference to his health and wellbeing by making some small and easily achievable lifestyle changes.
“I am working very hard to ensure the advice, support and encouragement is there for men across Blackpool to take control of their own destiny and improve their health day-in, day-out.”
The public health team in Blackpool has come up with these 10 top tips for men to look after their health this Men’s Health Week:
1. Check your weight
Nearly four in 10 men in England are overweight. Obesity, on average, reduces life expectancy by nine years. Check out the lose weight and health and fitness sections of NHS Choices website.
2. Drink less
Men who regularly drink more than three to four units a day are three times more likely to have a stroke. Have at least two consecutive days a week without alcohol.
3. Know Your Numbers
If you’re between 40 and 60, visit your GP practice to check your blood pressure. Know your number, know your risk, make simple lifestyle changes.
4. Exercise regularly
Even if you’re slim, you still get health benefits from exercising – lowering the risk of diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, and type two diabetes, by up to 50 per cent.
5. Eat more fruit and veg
For a healthy and balanced diet, try to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to lower your risk of serious problems such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
6. Keep stress in check
Psychological problems, including stress, are the underlying reason for one in five visits to a GP.
If left unchecked, stress can lead to further health problems such as high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.
7. Improve your sleep
If you’re not getting enough sleep, it can affect relationships, performance at work, and it can delay recovery from illness.
Good sleep starts with a good bedtime ritual, see NHS Choices website.
8. Quit smoking
The health benefits of quitting smoking are immediate. After 20 minutes, blood pressure and pulse return to normal. After 24 hours, lungs start to clear. After three days breathing is easier, and energy increases. For help quitting, speak to your GP or call (01253) 651570.
9. Get a sexual health test
Many people don’t notice symptoms when they have a sexually transmitted infection, such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea.
Getting tested and treated is easy, most infections can be cured. Click sexualhealthhub.co.uk
10. Check that lump
One in three people in England is diagnosed with cancer at some time in their life. Sometimes, noticing a small change, like a lump, changes to a mole, or unexplained weight loss, can make a big difference to your health.
If you are worried about a lump contact your GP.