Certain diseases have been taking the lives of men and yet they are often overlooked by the male folk. These diseases start very small and with early detection could be controlled. But our problem in Africa is that we take so many things for granted. We don’t seek medical attention until situations become life threatening. I used to be one of those who feel those things are not necessary until I started hearing stories of their effects on humans.

Let us look at some of these health problems:


High blood pressure


The prostate is a sex gland in men which surround the neck of the bladder and urethra. It is as little as the size of a walnut. It has a slightly alkaline fluid which forms part of the seminal fluid ( he fluid that transports sperm).Research have shown that African men are more prone to prostate cancer. Men with family history of prostate cancer are also at risk.

Prostate diseases can be cancerous as well as benign (non-cancerous). Like I said earlier, our major problem in this part of the world is neglect and carelessness. Some examples of non-cancerous or benign prostate problems are:

Urinary Incontinence: This happens when you lose bladder control. It is a very common problem among mature men.

Impotence: This is the inability of a man to have an erection. It also means his inability to keep the erection when finally there is an erection. Some men experience very strong erection at the sight of a woman, but the moment they have that woman in bed, before she is undressed, the penis falls flat. This could be heartbreaking and traumatic, not just for the man, but the woman too.

Prostatitis: This happens when the prostate becomes inflamed and is often accompanied by pain, discomfort, frequent or infrequent urination, and sometimes, fever. There are two types of prostatitis- the less chronic prostatitis and Acute Bacterial Prostatitis in which men have acute urinary tract infection which leads to urinary frequency and urgency. They also urinate a lot at night and have pain in their pelvis and genital area. If left untreated, this problem can lead to bladder infections, boils in the prostate, completely blocked urine flow, and if left untreated, it can lead to low blood pressure.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia- This has to do with the enlargement of the prostate and it is the most common prostate problem. This problem causes the prostate specific antigen level to move higher than the normal level and the higher it is, the higher your chances of having cancer.

I would advise you see a doctor the moment you have any of these warning signs.

•Frequent urge to urinate

•Difficulty urinating

•Pain or burning during urination

•Chills and fever

•Pain in the lower abdomen, groin, or back.

•Pelvic pain and pain during sexual intercourse or ejaculation

I am not a medical doctor, but I know it is advisable for adults to have their comprehensive health tests done once every year and in which case prostate examination comes in. This is not a matter of faith and religion, save yourself some headache and pain by looking for the black goat while it is still day.

High Blood Pressure

It is often called the silent killer. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. The heart pumps blood into the arteries (blood vessels), which carry the blood throughout the body. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood to the body and it contributes to hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis and the development of heart failure.

High blood pressure (HBP) itself usually has no signs or symptoms. Rarely, headaches may occur.

You can have HBP for years without knowing it. During this time, the condition can damage your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of your body.

Some people only learn that they have HBP after the damage has caused problems, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, or kidney failure.

Knowing your blood pressure numbers is important, even when you’re feeling fine. If your blood pressure is normal, you can work with your health care team to keep it that way. If your blood pressure is too high, you can take steps to lower it. Lowering your blood pressure will help reduce your risk for related health problems.

Causes and treatment of hypertension

Being overweight or obese- I must let you know that though pot belly is the easiest sign of obesity, there are cases where people look okay but they are obese. One way of looking at body weight is by calculating the Body Mass Index (BMI).This is calculated as:

Weight (kg)

Height (m) x Height (m)

For example, if someone weighs 92kg and has a height of 1.6m,to work out his body mass index you will have:


1.6 x 1.6

=36, which puts him into the fat category


BMI of less than 20 = (underweight may need to consult your doctor or try to eat more)

BMI between 20 and 24.9 = (right weight range for good health)

BMI between 25 and 29.9 = overweight (try to lose the excess)

BMI between 30 and 39.9 = fat (important to lose weight)

Greater than 40 = very fat (serious and you really need to do something)

Lack of physical activity- Exercise makes your heart pump.

Wrong diet- Reduce the amount of meat especially red meat. Choose lean meat, only eat it a couple of times a week. Don’t think your wife is trying to insult you or make you look like a poor man when you don’t have different parts of meat in your meal. It’s time to give up the shaki, roundabout, bokoto, tozo, etc from the nearby mama-put. Fish and white meat will do.

Reduce the amount of sugar you consume. I have come to realise that men like a lot of sugar in their tea, coffee and cereals. Guys, you don’t have to help destroy your life. At this stage of your life, you don’t need that full-cream milk and the likes. Go for skimmed or low fat milk.

The link between salt and high blood pressure is especially compelling. People who add no salt to their food show virtually no traces of essential hypertension. Let your wives reduce the amount of salt in your meals rather advise her to use spices. Too much salt causes water retention and cellulite and won’t help your blood pressure. This means you have to eat more at home.

Older age

Genetics- High blood pressure tends to run in families and is more likely to affect men than women. Age and race also play a role. Blacks are twice as likely as whites to have high blood pressure, although the gap begins to narrow around age 44. After age 65, black women have the highest incidence of high blood pressure.


Stress- Nigeria is one country that puts you through a lot of stress on a daily basis. It is worse in this our Lagos where everyone seems abnormal and always in a haste. People wake up as early as 3am after getting home at 12 midnight the previous day. From that time, you face the horrible traffic of Lagos while driving to work in the midst of some crazy public bus drivers. Lagos is one state that if you live in, you must make it a routine to constantly have your blood pressure checked.

I got a message on the reality of life from a friend. This message was about a man who spent his old age in regrets. What regrets, you may ask. This man made all the good grades in school, made the billions of dollars, became so popular, but after it all, he still had regrets; he never enjoyed all those good things he worked for. He went through his youth struggling for things he never enjoyed. Learn to take it easy on yourself.

Hypertension, if not constantly monitored, often times lead to stroke and cardiac arrest. People always blame their enemies when a very vibrant man or woman suddenly drops dead. Our religious leaders also attribute these things to some spiritual forces. The problem came as a result of one’s carelessness towards personal health.

Whatever you are going through today shall someday come to an end. Don’t allow the end of that relationship, the loss of that job, the death of your loved one; make you lose your sanity.