This Spring, we are focusing on Men’s Health, with this in mind let’s consider a cricket team as a metaphor for a bloke.
We begin with the captain – Brain/mental health: He collects information and makes decisions for the whole team. He is vulnerable to stressful events, sometimes he carries a load for too long and this affects his decision making. Changes in mood, appetite, sleep, libido, a lack of pleasure from things that used to be fun can mean that the captain is down on form. This usually does not last but is easier to deal with if he has help. Another perspective, psychological help and, sometimes, medications are available to to help with depression and anxiety.
Next up are the top order batsmen:
Heart: Immense reserves, capable of accelerating rapidly, makes his presence felt. When he’s on song he powers the rest of the team. But he is vulnerable. Weaknesses include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, excess weight (more batsmen look like Lehmann than Ponting). We encourage a healthy lifestyle at every age but begin screening for many chronic conditions like these between 45-49 years old. Lifestyle choices, medication, management plans and specialist care can all contribute to a longer, more productive innings.
Lungs: Also have vast reserves. Can tick along quietly all day but also have amazing capacity. Biggest weakness is tobacco. Can seem to not be a problem early, but it will catch up with him and can end his innings. We are keen to assist with advice and medications to help quit smoking. The first step is the decision to quit.
Middle order batsmen – They build on the total so far, or compensate for it.
Stomach: Works dependably. Gets unsettled by hostile attacks on occasions but usually recovers quickly and is a reliable performer. But he is vulnerable to sustained attacks by alcohol and some medications. So is his great mate Liver. Intestines are very dependable. They absorb a lot for the team, sugars, proteins, vitamins and minerals up higher, water down lower. We know how they are going by their outputs. Not always pretty, but the job gets done. We check up on bowel health from 50 years old with Federal Government Bowel Screening kits. But, please see us for unusual or altered outputs or blood.
The bowlers – They steam in, we admire their athleticism, their capacity for work, they get results. They shoulder a large load and they can wear out, even break down and recovery can take longer.
Our bowlers: Muscles, bones, joints are all important and contribute in obvious ways. Joint pain can be arthritis. If you feel stiffness or pain, come in for a check-up, because treatments are available from our excellent support staff, including physiotherapists, pharmacists and surgeons. Bones and muscles need regular load bearing exercise and good nutrition.
The pitch – If it’s even, you can expect a match to last a long time, if it’s uneven, you can get an early result. Like testicles, unusual growths, pain, swelling, redness should not be ignored.
Irrigation system – Bladder. We just assume it will always work, producing a steady stream. If you notice a reduced urinary stream, trouble commencing, dribbling or you’re getting up more than twice overnight, time to get the prostate checked.
So, that’s most of “Team Bloke”. As your doctors we are your coaches and support team, ready to help any member of your team stay healthy and assist with recovery as needed. If you or a loved one have any issues regarding your “team” please make a long appointment for a “Men’s Health Check” with your GP at Pro Heath Care.
Dr Robert Laakman, General Practitioner