You got through your awkward teenage years, you’ve managed to survive the adventures of your 20s and you’re sitting in the sweet spot of your 30s. It’s a great time for a lot of men; they’ve settled into a career, potentially found a life-long partner, and may have started a family. If you’re in your early 30s, you’re probably at the physical peak of your life; in terms of strength, stamina and muscle mass.
But it isn’t time to get complacent about your health. Skin checks, keeping alcohol intake low and being mindful of changes to your mental well-being should all still be on the agenda. When your reach your mid-30s you should start checking in with your GP to test cholesterol, blood pressure and pre-diabetes markers.
You need to know about high cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a type of fat that is carried in the blood. It is an essential part of the functioning of the body. There are two types of cholesterol – Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) and High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL).
Low-Density Lipoproteins are the most dangerous; it has a propensity to stick to the walls of the arteries.
High-Density Lipoproteins actually help carry away the LDL away from the arteries.
Triglycerides are also a source of fat that is found in the bloodstream. Eating a lot of high fat (particularly saturated or trans-fat) or high sugar foods can increase the number of triglycerides in the body. Excess triglycerides can destroy the HDL (the ‘good’ cholesterol) and increase LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol).
When you have ‘high cholesterol’ it generally means you have too much LDL and/or too little HDL in your bloodstream.
Having high cholesterol increases your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, mini-stroke (known as transient ischaemic arrack – TIA) and narrowing of the arteries (which can lead to angina, fatigue, confusion, shortness of breath).
You need to know about high blood pressure.
Your heart pumps blood around the body, through the circulatory system. As it does this it applies pressure against the walls of the blood vessels. Blood pressure measures the maximum amount of pressure applied during one heartbeat and the minimum amount of pressure between two heartbeats – known as systolic pressure and diastolic pressure respectively.
In a healthy individual, the maximum amount of pressure in your arteries when the heart contracts will sit around 120 mm Hg; and will be around 80 mm Hg when the heart relaxes.
If your systolic pressure reads above 130 mm Hg it indicates that too much pressure is being put on your arteries. Left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
High blood pressure is sometimes known as the silent killer, because there may be no symptoms.
You need to know about diabetes.
Once you’ve eaten something, your body gets to work converting it into energy to fuel you through your day. Carbohydrates turn into blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, and circulate around your body via your bloodstream. When this happens, your pancreas releases insulin which then absorbs the glucose from the blood into the cells to be stored for energy. This process then lowers blood sugar levels back to normal.
When someone has diabetes, insulin is not produced or the body doesn’t respond to insulin as it needs to, leaving glucose to stay in the blood. Left untreated and unmanaged, diabetes can lead to blindness and kidney disease, and significantly increases the chance of cardiovascular disease.
Diabetes increases the chances of peripheral artery disease (PAD) – a narrowing of the arteries that carry blood to your legs and feet. When blood flow is restricted, it can result in open sores and infections. In addition to limited blood flow, diabetes can also damage the nerves and blood vessels in the feet and the legs, meaning people can’t feel pain from sores and wounds. This can lead to serious infections, which may only be able to be treated with amputation.
Type 1 diabetes often comes on very quickly and usually develops in childhood or adolescence. The cause is unknown and there is no known prevention.
Type 2 diabetes can often go undetected for years, with symptoms slowly developing and thus going unnoticed (or put down to ageing). Type 2 diabetes is more common but can be prevented through diet and lifestyle.
You need to know how to reduce your risk.
The good news is that you can reduce your risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes through diet, exercise and lifestyle choices. When you are in your 30s, it is the ideal time to schedule regular appointments for general health checks and to keep or develop life long healthy habits such as:
· Being active for 30-60 minutes most days
· Maintaining a healthy weight
· Not smoking
· Limiting or sustaining from drinking alcohol
· Keep stress levels low
· Limit high fat and high sugar foods
The Naturopaths at our Ballarat Health Store can support you in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.