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How can I improve my health?

Next week 13th to 19th of June sees Men’s Health week arrive which is a brilliant time to think about your overall well-being. Women tend to be more proactive with their health whereas us men tend to think “it will be alright” or I’ll do it later”. However, this attitude might land us in health trouble. What does Men’s Health week mean to you? Prostate cancer might spring to mind as this has received a lot of attention recently. However, according to ONS data the biggest cause of death in men in the UK are as follows:


The most common cause of death

In the over 80’s it’s Alzheimer’s and dementia. Overall, these are diseases of advanced age. There is an argument that there is a genetic component to the development of these conditions with certain genes increasing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia. There is also a debate as to whether this is lifestyle induced. Some health experts think that Alzheimer’s and dementia is or could also be termed type three diabetes. Excess sugar over a lifetime damages nerve cells which may accelerate nerve cell damage and conditions such as dementia. This is easily remedied by improving your diet through your lifetime.

Old man

More alarmingly the biggest cause of death in males between 50 and 79 years old is still ischaemic heart disease – or more commonly heart attacks. This is very much a lifestyle induced problem with obesity, smoking and diabetes being significant players in this disease process. Better eating habits, stopping smoking, reducing alcohol intake, controlling weight and exercising are probably the simplest things to do to reduce your risk of ischaemic heart disease. You could take this further and have blood tests done looking at things such as cholesterol levels as well as inflammatory makers such as CRP or HbA1c.

Take cholesterol for example – just measuring total cholesterol is over simplistic, you want to see the breakdown of LDL cholesterol (sometimes referred to as bad cholesterol), HDL cholesterol (sometimes referred to as good cholesterol) and triglycerides. Even this might be over simplistic as LDL cholesterol can be further divided into small dense particles that are highly atherogenic and light fluffy particles which are potentially not so dangerous. Similarly, HDL cholesterol might not be all good but having a high HDL is probably not something to be overly concerned about. High triglycerides are usually developed through excess carbohydrate and sugar consumption and may accompany high HbA1c (a diabetes marker). Some researchers think inflammation is the key to heart disease and therefore high inflammatory markers in the blood (such as CRP) damage blood vessels through free radicle production. Eating a diet high in antioxidants can help prevent this – antioxidants are high in brightly coloured fruit and vegetables.

Heart attack

In males under 50 the most common cause of death is suicide or poisoning. I’m not quite sure why men are being poisoned but suicide is a huge concern and I think most of us are aware these days of looking after our mental health as well as our physical health.

Two simple measures to assess your health profile is to weigh yourself and work out your BMI (simply use an online calculator) and measure your waist circumference. Your BMI should be below 25 and waist circumference below 90cm to lower risk factors for obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. You could delve further and book a Well Man assessment with me – we will measure your body fat as well as take blood tests to look at a liver and kidney function a full cholesterol panel, hormone profile and markers such as CRP and HbA1c to assess inflammation status and blood glucose metabolism. On the back of this lifestyle guidance or referral for nutritional therapy can be made. On a side note this blood test and the anthropometrical measurements are equally as good for females wanting to improve their health as well.

This is the blood test I recommend:

If this is something you are interested in doing drop me an email to discuss further or book here... (be sure to have ordered the blood tests kit first and bring it to the appointment…)

About Wandsworth Physiotherapy

infoAt Wandsworth Physiotherapy and Osteopathy we are focused on getting you out of pain and back to what you love doing. Whether it's playing with your kids or simply being able to sit on the train comfortably; whether it's being able to get back into the gym class or to run 5k again; whether it's to banish the Tena Lady or being able to lift your child without pain our expert physiotherapists and osteopaths are here to help.