Monday, July 13, 2009

What celebrities can teach us about health

Celebrities are great for helping to get media coverage for a difficult health story. But you need to be careful.

We've got a really interesting interview on malehealth with Steve Redgrave - a man with nearly as many long-term health conditions (3) as he's got Olympic Golds (5). But listening to all that people like Steve or former Spurs captain Gary Mabbutt have achieved despite having a condition like diabetes might lead you to conclude that diabetes is not a serious condition. It is. It can kill.

Today's news that men over 35 are twice as likely to develop diabetes as women of the same age ought to kick any complacency into touch. Yes, diabetes can be managed but only if you're getting treatment and you can only get that if you see a doc. If Mabbutt's diabetes hadn't been diagnosed he wouldn't have even been playing park football let alone turning out alongside Glen Hoddle and Ossie Ardiles at one of the world's finest clubs. So what is the conclusion you should draw from celebrity interviews like Redgrave's? It's this: managed conditions are not the the end of the world but unmanaged ones can kill.

Talking of celebrity tie-ups, drug company Lilly who make the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis have teamed up with former England spin king Phil Tufnell to raise awareness of the problem. Picking up on the Ashes theme, the site's called Bowl Your Maiden Over.

There are cricket puns all over the shop - a bit like Phil's bowling on a bad day - and a rather stilted conversation between the great man and Dr Rob Hicks about England's Ashes chances. It's easy to be cynical about this sort of puff but if it encourages men to discuss a subject that affects, frankly, all of us at some time in our lives it's got to be a good thing. And Tuffers deserves credit for having the balls - sorry, couldn't resist - to get involved.

Of course, England's jammy Ashes escape yesterday must have put a spring in every Englishman's stride but if things don't go so well at Lords - where England haven't beaten the Aussies since 1934 - the site should get more hits than even Ricky Ponting's bat.

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