Guide to Men’s Health 50 & Forward

Come the late 40s and early 50s, joints start to ache, blood pressure tends to rise, weight accumulates around the mid-section, hair thins – there might have even been a health scare or two. Aging isn’t for the faint hearted, but with the right action plan, power, prestige and influence can be amplified through the 50s and beyond.

As men mature they don’t go through any sudden hormonal change – it’s more a case of testosterone gradually declining – with research showing levels fall about one per cent on average, every year after the age of 30. But unlike menopause, when a woman’s fertility drops off, men can still reproduce well into old age.

Testosterone levels make men’s skin about 25 per cent thicker than women’s, according to the International Dermal Institute.

They also have more collagen density and natural moisture – meaning they have the added advantage of skin aging more gradually.

Males often put on weight throughout their 40s, but after 50 this tends to slow down according to the US National Institute of Health, whereas women gain weight for an extra decade or so – until they are 65.

Middle age is a natural time to take stock of your life choices – including those that affect your health. Here are the five biggest roadblocks for men when it comes to health:

1. Protect your prostate

Around 25 per cent of men aged 55 and older have a prostate condition, this increases to 50 per cent by the age of 70 years.

The early stage of prostate disease (inflammation, non- cancerous enlargement and prostate cancer) could include the need to urinate more often, not being able to stop the flow of urine and having to get up during the night to go, or there may be no symptoms at all.

The problem is, men tend to leave it a long time before they get checked out – often they just think they’re getting old and don’t do anything about the earlysymptoms. By the age of 50 all men should be getting a routine digital examination and PSA (Prostate- Specific Antigen) reading every two years, if there’s no family history of prostate disease.

2. Keep blood pressure in check

High blood pressure, over a long period of time is one of the main risk factors for heart disease and as men get older, the chance of having persistently high blood pressure increases. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke, so it’s vital to keep this in

When I see a client the first thing I check is where is the high blood pressure coming from – is it a weight issue and what they’re eating or too much stress? It’s important to treat the cause.

One of my clients had a blood pressure of 180/140, when a reading of 120/80 is what he should have been aiming for. Rather than just sticking him on blood pressure medication, he started eating the right food, according to his body type, and lost 7.5kg. His blood pressure quickly dropped down into the normal range.

3. Hone focus and clarity

Many men in their 50s go through a time of feeling like life becomes mundane, that they are detached from their passion, or not hitting the same goals that they used to.

Doctors are quick to label this depression and prescribe medication, but often there is an internal imbalance and when the body is functioning better, everything quickly improves.

4. Downsize stress

Executive men never think they’re stressed, often because they’ve adapted to such high levels of intense living. Only when they go on holidays, and end up getting sick, do they realise they have been pushing their body to the limit – that’s if they even stop when on holidays.

Stress can present itself in not sleeping well at night, not eating or feeling gassy, bloated or uncomfortable after eating. It’s important to find ways to reduce stress in order to remain healthy.

5. Loss of libido

We’re seeing a lot of younger men come in with decreased sex drive – that’s if they’ll even talk about it. While it’s natural for men to notice a gradual decrease in libido as they age, most men maintain sexual interest well into their 60s and 70s.

Depression, stress and the side effects of medication can contribute to loss of libido – but another big factor, which is often overlooked, is the body’s nourishment. Doctors don’t always talk about lifestyle and diet – these are big factors in the body’s ability to stay young and vibrant.

Disease doesn’t just start, it’s happening constantly. Women are better at making sure they take care of themselves, for them it’s more important how they look.

Men on the other tend not to talk about their health concerns and delay their checkups, if going at all.

Men win out in the genetic stakes when it comes to aging, with more naturally lean mass and muscle – so with the right amount of care, there’s no reason why they can’t stay fit and strong and formidable, well into their 50s and beyond.

Clinical director of Back to Health, Jo Formosa specialises in Ayurveda and neuro strategies. Along with a team of highly qualified Ayurvedic doctors and practitioners, she offers a number of modalities to achieve optimal health in high-pressure environments. She will be holding a 7-day detox retreat, which will reset the metabolism,  detox the body and address all the above health issues, November 6-13, in the luxurious Komune Resort, Bali. For more information visit www. dynamics-retreats/

Business First is a peer-to-peer magazine: written by CEOs and other high level executives, with interviews with some of the country’s best leaders.

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