To mark the awareness month, experts from Fakeeh University Hospital share advice on what men in the UAE need to start doing to boost their health and live their best life
If you’re a man in your 30s or older, seeing a doctor or getting a checkup is most likely the last thing on your mind when you have a million other things to worry about. But, if recent data is anything to go by, it is the most critical thing you can do.
According to the latest figures from SEHA, men in the UAE are not doing enough to take charge of their health. 70 percent of Emirati men under the age of 30 years are known to suffer from obesity and diabetes. Not enough men between 20 to 30 years of age are undergoing regular full physical work-ups, and screening for prevalent health issues.
In recognition of Men’s Health Month this June, the message is clear: men (young and old) need to take charge of their own health by proactively learning where their health is at and preemptively seeking treatment and guidance. To mark the occasion, experts across multiple specialties at Fakeeh University Hospital share their advice on the best place to start.
As men enter their 30s and later, quality-of-life issues become more pertinent, requiring early action to monitor and detect any urology issues. They may resist at first, especially if they need to be dragged to their primary care physician for annual checkups but seeing a urologist can make everyday life better.
Dr. Hosam Al Qudah, Consultant and Lead Urologist Fakeeh University Hospital believes that starting an open dialogue with a urologist is key to addressing the problems men often do not feel comfortable discussing: “I recommend every man over the age of 40 to start seeing a urologist regularly. This isn’t just something you do to protect yourself from prostate cancer. This is about taking charge of your prostate, urinary, and sexual health – to talk about the issues that you may find uncomfortable to address. This is also where I see our role as urologists – to normalize these as regular health conversations”.
In their late 40s, men may begin to face difficulty urinating due to an enlarged prostate, which is part of getting older. But too many trips to the bathroom — day and night — can make daily life more of a pain than it needs to be. To start, a urologist may recommend some lifestyle changes. This can include avoiding caffeine and alcohol. An enlarged prostate can also be treated with medications to relieve symptoms or even partially shrink the prostate.
The greatest concern here is the lifetime risk of prostate cancer, which can be predicted by a single prostate-specific antigen (PSA) determination that men are recommended to take during their 40s. “All men should take a baseline PSA test when they hit their mid-40s,” says Dr. Hosam. “It’s a simple blood test can help determine your risk of developing prostate cancer and show us specifically what we need to do to screen you in the future.”
If your PSA is .7 or below, you may only need to be screened every five years or so and your lifetime risk of prostate cancer is around 10% or less. If you’re at higher risk with a score of 1 or above, you may benefit from more frequent screening. If you reach 60 and your score is below a 1 or 2, it is safe to spread out the screening interval again. “Cancer screenings can be lifesavers,” continued Dr. Hosam, “but even a semi-regular visit to your urologist can keep you feeling good and make the aging problems all of us men face a little easier to cope with.”
Erectile dysfunction and declining libido are other issues that are not uncommon for men starting in their late 40s and early 50s, with about 1 in 10 adult males suffering from it. The cause isn’t always physical, but a urologist can help if it is. “Your urologist can check your hormones with a simple blood test and prescribe testosterone replacements if you have low testosterone,” said Dr. Hosam.