In this issue of WellnessConnect, we had the honour of meeting renowned local urologist who has made significant contributions to the field throughout the Caribbean and the world at large. Read our article on Dr. Lall Ramnath Sawh here.
Here a few of his tips for leading a healthy lifestyle:
1. Men, check your prostate annually after the age of 45Prostate cancer is the one of the top leading causes of death among Caribbean men. The following factors increase one’s risk:
- If there is a family history of prostate cancer (it is best to check after the age of 40, in this case)
- If the man has multiple partners, as the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) can be contracted, which is linked to prostate and other cancers
- If the man is of African descent, as this race is more susceptible to prostate cancer — research indicates that men of African descent get this type of cancer at an earlier age, and are more likely to have tumours that grow rapidly and spread to other body parts
2. Men, don’t listen to your ‘padna’ — but to your partner!In the early stages of prostate cancer, there are no symptoms, and often a man would not go by the doctor unless he is feeling ill — whereas women, on the other hand, are more likely to be proactive about their regular health checks. “Caribbean men in general have this fear of ‘a finger up your bottom’, and men often tease each other in social situations,” explains Dr. Sawh. “The men that do get regular checkups are often the ones whose wives or partners keep ‘harassing’ them — and they do it to keep the peace.” While the stigma of the prostate exam may not go away anytime soon in our Caribbean mindset, it is important to stay on top of your health — whether you do it for yourself or to assuage your partner. So, women, encourage your men to get tested! You have a role to play too.
3. Watch out for kidney stonesAfter prostate cancer, kidney stones are the next most common issue affecting Caribbean men and women. Kidney stones are formed when your urine contains more crystal-forming substances (calcium, oxalate and uric acid) than the fluid in your urine can dilute, and/or your urine lacks the substances that keep these crystals from sticking together. Risk factors for kidney stones include:
- Family or personal history — if you or a family member have had one, you are more likely to develop a kidney stone
- Dehydration — not drinking enough water each day can increase your risk, particularly if you live in a warm climate or sweat a lot
- Diet — a diet high in calcium and red meats can also increase your risk as it causes uric acid stones