I think I speak for most guys when I say that most of the time we’d rather ignore our problems and just hope they go away. One time my brother stopped talking to his girlfriend for about a month before she eventually got the message and packed her stuff and left. That shows a whole new level of commitment!
We try and do the same with our health as well. I’m sure that achy tooth will just magically fix itself if you ignore it long enough. They fix themselves, right? How many spares do we get after baby teeth again? None? Ok well I guess it’s time we start taking care of ourselves.
Here’s your 2022 checklist of things to run through to keep yourself in peak condition. If you cheat on this list, the only person you’re cheating is yourself.
1. Heart of the Matter
If you have known risks, it’s best to get started checking your cholesterol when you’re twenty. For everyone else, start getting these regular checks after you hit 35; once every five years if your cholesterol levels are fine. Keeping your cholesterol in check is just generally a matter of cutting down on buying yourself dog food masquerading as takeaways, lowering your alcohol intact and getting more physically active. Lower your weight as best you can and stick to fruit and veges, lean meats, nuts and seeds.
2. Get Some Oral
Did you know that you’re supposed to go to the dentist once a year for a check up? I know, sounds like a scam to me too. The first lockdown coincided with a severe toothache my wife got. She milked it by complaining about it, safe in the knowledge that there were no dentists willingly crawling inside people’s mouths at the time. After the lockdowns ended, I asked if she’d finally book herself in for an appointment. “Naaaah,” she told me.
Anyway, leaving dental issues for too long only creates more expensive problems. Small cavities get too big to fill in and it all turns into a nightmare. Do yourself a favour and catch these things early. It’s like a spot of rust on your car.
You can mitigate any disasters here by keeping your diet low sugar (good luck with that!) and cleaning your teeth regularly. Word to the wise, you can actually brush too much. I knew this one girl who would brush after every snack and meal to stay minty fresh. Her teeth were starting to look like one of those deep-sea fish you could see through as she’d started stripping her enamel off. Dentists recommend to always get the softest brush you can get. It doesn’t matter if you feel like you’re doing a good job with the firm brushes, your teeth aren’t the BBQ grill you scrap and scour after every use.
3. Go Nuts
You know this article was gonna have to go there at some point. Don’t worry, we’re going to the OTHER place later on. After you’ve hit puberty (presumably you have; do people under 14 know what magazines are?), you should be regularly having a quick check down there for any abnormal lumps or thickness. Best time to check is in the shower when the air is warm. If you notice anything, report it ASAP. Never risk it when it comes to the family jewels!
4. Blood Brothers
If you’re under 40, and have no family history of it, you should get your blood pressure taken every two years. Otherwise, once a year if you’re over 40 and have a history of it. According to healthcare professionals, if the top number (systolic number) is 130 or greater or the bottom number (diastolic number) is 80 or greater you should book an appointment on how to bring down your blood pressure.
5. Get Your Booster
By the time you’re reading this, you’re probably well due for your Covid booster shot. I get it, you went to all the trouble of getting the first two and now they’re demanding you get another one. What’s even the point, right?
If you just have the first two doses, then you have less protection against the transmission of Omicron than you had for Delta. Unfortunately, vaccines wear off or new strains lower their effectiveness. Being fully vaxxed lowers the chances of you taking up one of those ICU beds.
But any sort of blunting of Covid’s effects are well worth it. Also a UK study has found that 70% of COVID survivors had memory and concentration problems several months after infection which would align with other studies that have measured a “greater reduction in grey matter thickness and tissue-contrast in the orbitofrontal cortex and parahippocampal gyrus”. I’ve always made a point of not endangering anything in my body I don’t know how to pronounce or spell.
6. Mole Orienteering
If you work a lot outside, you should be self checking yourself for any funny business on your skin once every few months, and get yourself professional mapped once a year. The main thing to look for when self checking is if a mole grows, changes shape or colour, or if new and different colours appear. New Zealand has some of the highest rates of melanoma in the world, behind only Australia. Seven of us get diagnosed with it every day and 300 of us pass away due to it every year. I rely on your ongoing subscription to this magazine, so have a look at your skin once in a while please.
7. Check Your Head
Mental health isn’t solved at the end of November, as our friends over at Movember pointed out in the March/April 2022 issue of M2. Globally, three out of four suicides are by men, and it remains the leading cause of death for men under the age of 44. If your facing issues, do your best to open up about it, it could truly be a lifesaver. Likewise, be a spotter for your mates. CEO of Movember, Michelle Terry says, “If you’re worried about a mate who you think might be struggling, there are things you can do to help. You might not be able to fix someone else’s problems, but you can listen and sometimes that is the most helpful thing you can do.”
Don’t try and carry the burden by yourself, far too many of us try and buckle under the weight. Share the load!
8. Twenty Twenty Foresight
Between 18-60, you should be getting an eye exam every two years if you’re of the bespectacled community like me. Use it as an excuse to get a new pair of glasses that aren’t scuffed and bent out of shape from you sitting on them.
9. Making Tracks
Covid’s not the only thing out there you need to be immunised against. You should pick up the latest flu shot to cover you for the latest variant of that. Not as fashionable, but important during flu season. Although with that said lockdowns, face masks and social distancing did a number to flu numbers. Not having to go into town and catch buses these last couple years have left me the healthiest I’ve ever been. If you haven’t had them already getting the MMR vaccine is a good idea, as well as the varicella vaccine if you never caught chickenpox as a kid.
10. Check the Back Door
There’s a lot going on up inside you and your doctor is going to have to quickly point at it for you. Prostate cancer is the third highest cause of cancer death for New Zealand males, behind lung and colorectal cancers. I’m sorry, that’s just life and prostates for you. Prostate cancer is ridiculously common with autopsy studies finding that undetected prostate cancer is present in approximately 50–60% of males aged over 79. A prostate check is recommended to all the guys between 50 and 70. After 70, any new surprises down there are unlikely to have time to get to a point they can hassle you before Jesus starts knocking on your door. If you have a family history get started in your 40s.