Health in your 50s

When you reach your 50’s you may be as busy as ever, as you continue on your career path and support the family as they become more independent, move into further education or travel. It may be a time to reap the rewards of your hard work and reduce some of the pressure? This can be great time to take up a new interest, travel, get involved with your community and take time to look after yourself.

Health risks increase in your 50’s especially if you’ve neglected your health in the past. For some men, ageing can also bring a reduction in things often regarded as typically male, such as physical strength, energy and libido (sex drive) and sense of masculinity.

There may be added risks associated with any family history of prostate or bowel cancer – discuss this with your GP when you undertake the annual health check. So keep physically active at least 30 minutes a day to maintain energy levels and if you’re looking for new ways to exercise why not try walking, cycling or the gym?

Take Action!

  • If you don’t already have one, find a GP you feel comfortable talking to
  • Make an annual visit to your GP an essential goal each birthday

To learn more, click the following:

Talk to your GP about
  • Your family’s medical history
  • An annual flu shot and other immunisations you may need
  • Kidney and liver function
  • Weight, height and waist measure
  • Blood pressure
  • Screening for bowel cancer
  • Prostate cancer risk – talk to your GP about what action is appropriate for you
  • Blood cholesterol and glucose levels
  • Tetanus booster each 10 years
  • Osteoporosis risk
  • Eye and hearing tests
  • Mental health- talk about any issues or concerns, your GP or a counsellor will be able to assist
  • Skin cancer risk

The risk of heart disease and high blood pressure increases with age, it’s important to have your blood pressure and fasting blood cholesterol measured regularly. Your GP will also check you for type 2 Diabetes- keep an eye on that gut, carrying too much weight is a major risk factor.

You may also like to talk to your GP about
  • Any erectile concerns
  • Any relationship problems                
  • Other tests relevant to your medical history
You can also help yourself by looking after your physical health
  • Quit smoking
  • Drink moderately – up to 2 standard drinks a day and 3 alcohol free days a week – stay in control
  • Eat healthy nutritious food with plenty of  fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Keep active and maintain a healthy weight – a 30 minute walk every day will give you significant health benefits
  • Laugh lots and loud
Sexually transmitted diseases

STD's are more common than you may think and on the rise in your age group, some can show no symptoms. Sexually transmitted infections are not good and predominately contracted through unsafe sexual practices. Unprotected sex and genital contact can put you at risk. It’s not just AIDS or unwanted pregnancies you need worry about, but common sexually transmitted disease such as chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts and gonorrhoea.

Condoms don’t eliminate the risk but can drastically reduce them. If you are sexually active with more than one person have regular check-ups. Take care of yourself and your sexual partner.

Your mental health is also important

Depression and anxiety in men are common - one in eight men experience depression and one in five men experience anxiety at some stage in their life. Depression and anxiety are illnesses not weaknesses and you should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help – the sooner the better. Your GP is a good place to start. Some signs of depression and anxiety are:

  • Often feeling down or anxious/uptight
  • Drinking or smoking too much
  • Withdrawing from family, friends and social situations
  • Stressing over small things
  • Feeling easily irritated, upset or angry
  • Feeling like you’re losing control

 

Things to remember
  • Depression in men in common and treatable
  • With the right treatment, most people recover from depression
  • It’s important to seek help early - the sooner the better

For more information on depression and anxiety checkout the beyondblue website www.beyondblue.org.au/men  or call the beyondblue info line 1300 224 636.

This is the time of your life to thrive with family and friends and to live long, live well.