BBC's Emma Britton persuades men to open up about their health in South Bristol

June 20 2018
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GETTING men to talk about their health has never been easy – but Emma Britton from BBC Radio Bristol persuaded two South Bristol men to open up about their experience of living with diabetes.

GETTING men to talk about their health has never been easy – but Emma Britton from BBC Radio Bristol persuaded two South Bristol men to open up about their experience of living with diabetes.

Emma’s willing volunteers were found by Bedminster Pharmacy, which was encouraging men to ask questions about their health problems during Men’s Health Week from June 11-17.

For Southville resident Mike Kendall, 49, talking about his health has been one of the things that has helped him most over 28 years of living with Type 1 diabetes.

“I have been blogging about my experience of diabetes for years, and that was an enormous benefit for me,” he told Emma, an a recording for her breakfast show broadcast later in the week.

“The idea of reaching out for help  is a little bit too much for many men,” he said.

But Mike has found that managing his insulin level is a tricky business which varies every day, and he’s been helped by encouragement from others online, as well as seeking advice from his GP and his pharmacist. 

The internet can be a scary place where some people want to sell you snake oil, he said, but when you visit a pharmacy you know you are getting scientifically-based advice from a trained professional.

Pensioner Reg Higgs gave Emma a different perspective – he looks after his brother and his sister, both diabetics at their home in Redcliffe.

His brother and sister have Type 2 diabetes, which is often easier to manage, and they don’t have problems if they stick to their medication, Reg said.

People should live for today and look after their health, Reg told Emma: “Our mum’s philosophy was a little of what you fancy does you good, and my brother and sister eat what they want – within reason!” 

Bedminster Pharmacy owner Ade Williams told Emma the aim of the week was to get men thinking about their health, and take the Bemmie Challenge – to have their vital stats such as blood pressure ad weight checked, and have a conversation about whether they needed to  change anything.

their diet, cut down on alcohol or stop smoking.

“How hard is it to get men through the door to do the Bemmie Challenge?” asked Emma. 

“We tell people that they can do something about their health – they can even come off their medication if hey take simple steps like cutting down on alcohol, stopping smoking and so on,” said Ade.

Around 10 per cent of the NHS budget is now spent on diabetes and it’s getting worse because of inactive lifestyles, Ade told the BBC listeners.

But pharmacists as well as GPs can give advice about healthy living which could reduce the risk of diabetes dramatically, even when the rate is rising among younger people, he said.