Family doctors and health organisations across South Somerset were inviting men of all ages to come and find out how they could improve their health, fitness and wellbeing last week.
South Somerset Healthcare GP Federation organised its first Men’s Health Fair at Yeovil Town Football Club on Wednesday 1 October.
There were a wide range of displays and health advice available covering topics like avoiding sexually transmitted infections, tackling stress and depression and how to quit smoking, drink sensibly and spot the early symptoms of cancer.
Russ Kent, from the patient group Healthwatch Somerset, said: 'Men need to be more aware of their health because failing to treat a symptom or sign of Illness when they are still minor can save you a lot of worry and more complex treatment if the condition gets worse.
“I often hear men say it was their wife or partner who made them go to the doctor and I would hope that tonight's health fair would offer many more men the reassurance they need to go and see their GP themselves. If you are experiencing persistent symptoms, go and see your GP. It’s not a waste of time and it may even save your life.'
Katie Howe, Health Trainer with Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, was available to explain about sensible drinking. She said: "Many men say there is pressure from their friends to drink. No man wants to go to a pub with their mates and be the only one drinking soft or non-alcoholic drinks. Both men and women also fail to understand that it’s not just alcohol in drinks; they are full of sugar and calories. If you take no exercise and drink alcohol regularly you’ll soon be piling on the pounds.’
Dr Rob Munro, a GP from the Ryalls Park Medical Centre in Yeovil was available to give advice about sexually transmitted infections, in particular Chlamydia testing. He explained: "One of the problems with some sexually transmitted diseases is that you may not realise you have it. Conditions like Chlamydia can have little or no symptoms and can be passed between partners very easily. If you have had unprotected sex (sex without using a condom) you would be wise to get tested. NHS Chlamydia testing kits are quick and simple to use and could save you from a lot of worry and even the risk of fertility problems later in life.’
The importance of parents educating their young children about the importance of exercise and a balanced diet was highlighted by Yeovil Hospital’s child diet expert, Ian Butcher. ‘In my role as a hospital Paediatric Dietician I see many children and parents who do not have a good understanding of what makes a healthy, balanced diet. This lack of understanding carries on into adult life and can have serious consequences for their health, increasing their risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer and shortening their lifespan.”
Information and advice about your health is available from the NHS Choices web site at: www.nhs.uk
If you become ill after your GP surgery has closed, and you don’t know what to do or where
to go for help then telephone the FREE NHS advice line 111.
If you experience a persistent problem with your health then make an appointment with your
GP Practice or visit the Yeovil Health Centre, above Boots in Middle Street, Yeovil. (open
from 8.00am until 8.00pm each day.) Tel: 01935 709269.