To celebrate and recognise those in regional WA who contribute to blokes health and wellbeing!

   


 

We often talk to blokes about the importance of visiting their GP for a routine service visit or ‘check-up’ regardless of whether they feel unwell or not. These visits help you to stay health aware and if you do have particular risk factors, such as a family history of a certain disease, then regular check-ups may help your doctor pick up early warning signs. For example, high blood pressure may be an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease. I recently had my check up and I guess having a medical background puts me at a bit of an advantage when it comes to this sort of stuff, but for a lot of blokes it can be a bit of a daunting and at times confusing process.

First and foremost I think there are a lot of benefits in having a regular doctor and practice that you visit. This gives you the opportunity to build a relationship over time, to the point where you are more comfortable talking openly about things. Your doctor gets to know you and will have a better understanding of your health needs and concerns. Your medical history also stays under the one roof making it easier to keep things up to date.

With the average GP consultation time being around 10 to 15 minutes it’s important that you have a fairly clear idea of what you want to talk about (write a check list starting with the most concerning issue). Usually for two or more health issues you will need to book a longer consultation time. Be prepared! For a general health check, your doctor will want to talk to you about a range of stuff including your medical history, your family’s history, your lifestyle, diet, weight and how much you exercise. Be honest about your health and your concerns and most of all, don’t worry too much about being embarrassed. Doctors are usually very difficult people to shock and more than likely have seen or heard it all before.

We all need to take responsibility for our own health and wellbeing. A lot of guys I talk to have no idea of what their blood pressure is normally or what it means for that matter. Get to know your normal parameters and other things like your cholesterol and PSA (Prostate specific antigen) blood tests so you can engage in conversation with your GP about them. It often helps to keep your own record of results and a list of any medications you may be on and what they are for.

As we get older we inevitably encounter the increased risk of developing particular health issues such as prostate issues (over 45 years). Most GPs are pretty good at prompting us when needed but we still need to be an active participant. Don’t feel intimidated, you have the right to request certain tests and question things the doctor suggests. After all, this is about you and your GP working together.

So when visiting your GP be prepared (take a checklist) and be involved, it’s your health, you are the expert on you.

Brenden and the Team

The Regional Men’s Health Initiative
delivered by Wheatbelt Men’s Health (Inc.)        
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401            
Phone: 08 9690 2277                
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.regionalmenshealth.com.au


   

A wise man said to me recently the three things a man needs is to love someone; to do something meaningful and to have something to look forward to. These three things are a constant through the different stages of a man’s life whether it be adolescence, mid-life, transition and/or retirement.

As blokes we need to remember these three needs and actively stay engaged as they are a strong conduit to maintaining a healthy disposition and aids in building something else into our life other than just our work to identify ourselves by.

Many people talk about resilience, which is the individual capacity to deal with stuff in our lives (this varies from person to person). The majority of us operate within the bounds of the stretching of a rubber band (non-stretched and stretched). This innate capacity often boils down to how we are individually hardwired and it may also be a reflection of our upbringing and/or events experienced through our life’s journey. What we do know is that we all need to unplug the dam to let some stuff out every now and then so that the dam doesn’t burst its banks and cause us to crash.

When we link the three things a man needs (that is to love someone; do something meaningful and to have something to look forward to) to our capacity to deal with stuff in our lives (eg stopping the dam wall from bursting) it helps:-

  • maintain balance;
  • make sense of some of the basic fundamentals in our DNA (our warrior attitude); and
  • improve our individual resilience to both survive and thrive.

We need to be mindful of living in the present and connecting with others. For a bloke this connectedness is really important and can be maintained simply by attending a local men’s shed, playing bowls or participating/watching our preferred sport with a friend, having a cuppa with a neighbour or spontaneously dropping in on a mate. So remember take time to laugh with others and enjoy what we do, talk to a mate about our health and wellbeing and/or ask him how he is going and make sure we block out some time at the end of our busy periods to have a break.

On another matter - RMHI is hosting the Warrior Ambassador Awards Celebration Dinner at Joondalup Resort on Saturday, 1st April 2017. This is going to be a celebration of men’s wellbeing and health for rural and regional WA whilst acknowledging past contributors and inducting six new ambassadors.

Please feel welcome to join us for dinner and a night full of celebrations. Ticket includes, entertainment, guest speaker, pre-dinner drinks with canapes, garden buffet and beer, wine & soft drinks. Ticket price $100/head or alternately you can organise your own table of 8 for a discounted price of $640. To purchase tickets please contact our office telephone (08)9690 222

Owen and the Team

The Regional Men’s Health Initiative
delivered by Wheatbelt Men’s Health (Inc.)        
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401            
Phone: 08 9690 2277                
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.regionalmenshealth.com.au


   

Sadly lots of us blokes don’t have our blood pressure (BP) checked because we don’t visit our GP for check-ups or the GP has not done a blood pressure test.

High BP is one of the 3 main risk factors for heart attack and the main risk factor for stroke. Having a consistently high BP isn't a good thing and may become more common as we age. High BP isn't inevitable, nor unmanageable if we have it, but controlling high BP is critical in protecting our long term health and wellbeing.

Our bodies contain about 5 litres of blood which the heart pumps continuously around an intricate network of blood vessels. This process delivers vital nutrients and fresh oxygen to our body’s tissues and organs whilst creating a certain amount of pressure inside our arteries (blood vessels that take blood away from the heart and out to the body).
Our blood pressure depends primarily on two things:-

  • The amount of blood pumped by the heart; and
  • How easily the blood can flow through the arteries.

Blood pressure readings are given in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and consist of 2 numbers:

  • The top number - measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart pumps – systolic (sys-tol-ik) pressure;
  • The bottom number - measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart relaxes – diastolic(di-as-tol-ik) pressure.

What is ‘normal’ blood pressure? According to the Australian Health Foundation there is no ‘normal’ or ‘ideal’ blood pressure reading. The following figures should only be used as a guide.

Normal:           Less than 120/80
High/Normal:   Between 120/80 and 140/90
High:               Equal to or more than 140/90
Very High:       Equal to or more than 180/110
(Source – Heart Foundation – Managing high blood pressure)

The cause of high BP quite often is a mystery. It can be linked to genetics (family history is important), poor diet, being overweight and/or lack of exercise. The effects of some medicines being used to treat varying health conditions can also be a factor along with underlying health disorders that we may have.

The harm of high BP over time is simple. It can overload both the heart and blood vessels which in turn make us more susceptible to heart attack and stroke.

There are many things that we can do to keep our blood pressure healthy. To help manage high BP many people need medicine but by making the following healthy lifestyle changes blood pressure can be lowered.

• Be a non smoker;
• Eat less fat & salt;
• Lose excess weight;
• Exercise regularly;
• Keep alcohol intake down.

It is possible to have high BP for years without knowing it, which is why it's called a ‘silent killer’ and is most often discovered during routine physical examinations. Remember, be proactive and make an appointment for a service visit to your GP and always have BP on your checklist for your GP to look at.

Tim and the Team

The Regional Men’s Health Initiative
delivered by Wheatbelt Men’s Health (Inc.)        
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401            
Phone: 08 9690 2277                
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.regionalmenshealth.com.au


   

The month of November held a significant awareness campaign for blokes. Blokes gave it their best shot at growing a “mo” for Movember and the theme this year was “Stop men dying too young.”

Three main areas of focus and awareness of the Movember campaign are:

  1. Prostate Cancer – kills approximately 3000 Aussie men each year. In addition to this 2.4 million men are living with a prostate problem, the most common BPH (prostate enlargement).
  2. Testicular Cancer – The second most common cancer for men between the ages 18 – 39, but with an almost 95% cure rate if picked up early, our message of “check ya balls, and get to your doctor if you notice a change” is a simple one.
  3. Mental Health and Suicide Prevention – A very complex area, but our key messages are talking about, addressing and dealing with difficult and/or distressing times in our life (situational distress). Seeking help early and getting the right help pertaining to our situation makes a big difference.

So what about you? What are the other issues that are important for blokes in Regional WA, especially at this time of the year?

In all the work we do our key message is looking after yourself first and foremost. No matter if we are a farmer, contractor, working in agribusiness, or a community member we can sometimes forget the little things, the basics, during these busy times leading up to Christmas.

Understandably at this time of the year people go hard and work long hours. Even during harvest no one can work 24/7. Here are a few simple tips:

  • Fatigue is one of biggest causes of accidents/injuries/deaths (know your limits). Sleep are we getting enough (we need 8 hours)? Limit nicotine, caffeine, alcohol and big heavy meals late at night. Give yourself a chance to relax before bed (avoid bright screens electronic devises).

  • Fuelling your body – breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. Eat a good source of fibre ie whole grains, tomatoes, and fruits such as apples, berries, citrus fruits and pears. Fibre stays in the stomach longer than other foods = feeling full for longer, slow release = more sustained energy.

  • Balanced diet is important - eat red meat, chicken and fish with some greens. Your snacks can be healthy like apples, bananas, fruit/nut mix and remember to stay hydrated - drink lots of water!

  • Road Safety. Whether visiting from the city or just not used to country roads, remember truckies are trying to make a living, we know roads are a public space but respect goes both ways. Extra trucks are going to be in and out of receival points, farm gates and at crossroads. Give appropriate space and don’t push your overtaking, be patient.

On behalf of the RMHI team please take care finishing your harvest, stay safe on the roads and don’t forget the importance of having a good break over the holiday period. It is important to recognise and reward your efforts and achievements. 

Cheers

Terry and the Team

The Regional Men’s Health Initiative
delivered by Wheatbelt Men’s Health (Inc.)        
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401            
Phone: 08 9690 2277                
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.regionalmenshealth.com.au