As part of Men’s Health Week, Bradford men are being encouraged by the Bradford District Care Trust to take better care of their health by actually noting their symptoms and then seeking out medical help instead of ignoring them.
The awareness week takes place annually as a lead up to Father’s Day, and aims to help put preventable health problems in the spotlight to encourage men to take a second look at their health and possibly detect diseases in their early stages or even prevent them from occurring with better preventative health care measures.
This year, the main focus of Men’s Health Week is heart disease; which is the largest killer of men. In fact, three times as many men are likely to die from heart disease than women before they reach 75 years of age. This area is of particular concern to the Bradford District Care Trust given the fact that they are one of the few NHS trusts in the UK that actually has a team that is dedicated to providing the best in men’s health, amongst other services.
The team itself is referred to as HOM (or Health of Men) and was created with the goal of motivating, educating, and improving the health of boys and men. As part of the team, community health professionals and qualified nurses work together to give advice, offer assessments, and when need is demonstrated to offer treatment.
They help promote their cause by working outside of the regular healthcare settings, instead setting up their clinics in areas where men are more likely to frequent such as barbershops, workplaces, sporting clubs, and in other leisure and social settings that they are likely to be able to grab the attention of men.
In an effort to tackle heart disease in men, the team runs a health initiative much like the MoT, which takes a series of physical checks on men to assess their risk factors including blood glucose levels, weight measurements, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Over the past year the team has been able to perform their tests on over 1,500 men and have adjusted their testing based on the individual man’s needs.
Team leader for HOM, Andrew Harrison, stated that some men take for granted their own health even though they are able to accept that a yearly MoT is important for the road worthiness and safety of their vehicle. The idea of the testing is to show men that men need to also carefully monitor the health of their bodies.
In addition to testing for heart disease, the HoM team is also able to help with relationship and sex education, anger management, sexual health overall, performance drugs, counselling, smoking cessation, and overcoming bullying behaviour.
Paul Johnstone, the director for the NHS North of England public health department, stated that men as a culture tend to ignore their health and avoid complaining at all costs, but when it comes to health it is important to get men to understand the importance of heading to a doctor to get symptoms checked out.