By Kaye Estoista-Koo
In a culture that prizes machismo, Pinoy men have a tendency to puff themselves up too much and pretend that everything is always okay. In this context, to be sick, unhealthy, or not feeling well is considered a weakness.
If you feel shame at having any of these conditions, please don’t.
Shame and pride that make you not visit the doctor can be deadly.
Remember, shame won’t feed your family when they are struggling with your medical bills or worst case, when they deal with the effects after you die from any of these conditions.
Dads and husbands, listen up. This list is for you.
Here are some common complaints and illnesses, in no particular order, that men have to face head-on.
1. High Blood Pressure
We joke about this, especially come holiday season and vacations by the beach. Pinoys love meat and the fat that go with it. Left unchecked, this leads to hypertension and more serious cardiac conditions. It is no laughing matter.
This ubiquitous thing we often brush aside could be an indicator of a more serious, underlying condition such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD. COPD in turn could lead to even more serious lung conditions, that when left untreated, can be fatal. If a cough is bothering you for an extended period of time, get it checked.
3. Low Back Pain
Pinoy men have that “let me do it, I can handle it” attitude. We take pride in backbreaking work. We relegate our low back pain to overfatigue, stress, and too much work. This is in fact a prelude to possible musculoskeletal pain diagnosis, which means there is damage to the muscle tissue because of wear and tear. Bad posture and poor body mechanics cause these same muscles to be misused and painful as well.
4. Difficult Urination
Pinoy men chalk this up to either having too much salt in the diet, not enough water, or whatever random thing. In either case, if there is a regularity to it, it is best to consult with a urologist who specializes in the male urinary tract.
In the case of difficult urination, it could mean the presence of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. That’s basically a non-cancer but it means the prostate gland is getting larger, blocking the urethra. Aging men usually experience this.
5. Chest Tightness or Pain
While some are heart-related, if this is experienced frequently, it could mean your lungs, esophagus, muscles, ribs, or nerves are shouting for help. Identify if it is piercing, dull, sharp, burning, aching, stabbing, or a tight, squeezing as if you are being crushed sensation.
The believers of alternative medicine have stated that whichever area on the head you feel your headache, there is a direct nerve connection to a specific body part of organ. Headaches are related to either stress, weather, or fatigue and can be managed with a good night’s sleep. But other, chronic headaches have an underlying condition, from as simple as wearing the wrong grade for your eyes to something neurological in nature. As a bonus, painful neck and shoulder blades should also not be ignored.
7. Lack of or no sex life
While not just health-related, this one has been included because the issue of men’s sexual appetite varies from age to age and even from weight to status in life. This is more of an emotional complaint and needs to be addressed in a direct, but loving environment. It’s best to hold off judgment and discover underlying reasons for this.
8. Poor Sight
Squinting to look at something or bringing it as close to the eye as possible is a bad behavior. That’s because cataracts could be forming already. The clouding of the lens, which means decreased vision, is very treatable and should not cause you to lose sight in the long run.
9. Penile Discharge or Pain
This could be a complaint together with the previous item or it could stand on its own. It’s when your discharge is bloody, watery, cloudy, and the burning sensation as you pee. Men who have more than one sexual partner have this because these are indicators of a variety of sexually-transmitted diseases.
10. Frequent Urination
Some credit their frequent trips to the loo because they drink too much water. In fact, this could be an indicator of diabetes or high blood sugar.
Start monitoring your diet and find out if you are having a lot of sugar in it.
While we consulted general physicians for this list, this is by no means a ranked list but with hope it lets you gain more confidence to consult the necessary specialists, as needed. We don’t want to bring out the hypochondriac in you either, so don’t nitpick every little symptom you feel, especially if it’s just one time.
Here’s to staying happy, healthy, and confident for our families who love us dearly.
Resources: Dr. Mark Alvin Tan
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