Visiting a doctor is something we tend to do only out of necessity (for instance, when besieged by a coughing fit). But this shouldn’t be so. When you make it a point to go for regular health screenings, it can potentially save your life – especially for men.

That’s because the so-called tougher sex is actually more susceptible to many conditions, like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, say experts at the Health Assessment Centre, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth​ group. Some of these conditions are “silent killers”, which mean symptoms, if any, only appear at a very late stage.

Men, meet your top health enemies!

  1. Obesity
  2. What is it?

    Obesity is defined as body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2. This year, 12.1 per cent of men in Singapore were obese, as compared to 9.5 per cent of women. Blame it on the unhealthy food choices so readily available today. Or work stress.

    Why it's not good?

    Obesity puts you at risk for some of the leading causes of death in Singapore, namely heart disease and diabetes.

    Do this:

    A basic health screening is recommended yearly, where your BMI and waist circumference will be taken.

  3. Hypertension
  4. What is it?

    Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a condition where the blood is pumped around the body at a higher pressure. It affects almost 30 per cent of adult Singaporean men, but often goes undetected.

    Why it's not good?

    Untreated hypertension can cause coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure and renal failure.

    Do this:

    A fast and painless blood pressure measurement test is recommended every two years.

  5. Diabetes
  6. What is it?

    Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease marked by high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood, caused by insufficient production of insulin. The condition affects nine per cent of the adult population in Singapore (especially men).

    Why it's not good?

    Untreated and uncontrolled diabetes can lead to blindness, amputation of limbs, kidney failure and impotence.

    Do this:

    If you are 40 and above, a fasting blood glucose test is recommended once every three years.

  7. High cholesterol
  8. What is it?

    High cholesterol refers to high levels of lipids in the blood (think clogged arteries!). This affects 18 per cent of all Singaporeans, with men being more susceptible.

    Why it's not good:

    It can raise your chances of getting heart disease, stroke and other health conditions. Heart attacks and strokes cause more than a quarter of all deaths here annually.

    Do this:

    If you are aged 40 and above, do the fasting lipids health screening test every three years.

  9. Colorectal cancer
  10. What is it?

    Colorectal cancer is cancer that starts in either the colon or rectum. It has become the most common cancer for men, with Singapore having one of the highest incidences of the cancer in Asia.

    Why it’s not good:

    Left untreated, colorectal cancer can lead to the removal of a large section of the colon, and death.

    Do this:

    As with all cancers, screening will help in early detection, when the polyps / cancerous growths are small and have not spread. Do the faecal immunochemical test yearly or a colonoscopy every decade.

Health screening is important because it gives you a better shot at optimal health. Besides giving you a good picture of your overall health, it can detect potential health problems earlier and thus maximise your treatment options and chances of recovery.

Ref: U11