Top Health Issues for Men
Men are at a higher risk of dying from certain diseases than women and one reason for this is lack of awareness. Combine that with unhealthy work and personal lifestyles, men’s health has declined. Men are also less likely than women to have an annual physical with their doctor. Read more here about the top health issues for men and how to prevent them from happening in the first place.
More than one in three men have heart disease and it’s the leading cause of death for men across most racial and ethnic groups. Half of the men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Even if they have no symptoms, they may still be at risk for heart disease.
Key risk factors for heart disease are:
High blood pressure
High LDL cholesterol
Smoking are key risk factors for heart disease
Other risk factors that can contribute to heart disease are diabetes, poor diet, lack of physical activity and excessive alcohol use.
Strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in men. Certain heart conditions — such as atrial fibrillation, which causes the heart to pump less efficiently than it should, can also cause clots that lead to strokes. Other contributing factors in stroke include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Preventative measures include:
- Exercising for at least half an hour on most days of the week
- Eating right — preferably a diet low in saturated fat (such as that in processed meats) and high in fruits and vegetables
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Not smoking — smokers are twice as likely to have a stroke
COPD and other respiratory diseases
About 85 to 90 percent of all COPD cases are caused by cigarette smoking. What you breathe every day at work, home and outside can play a role in developing COPD. Long-term exposure to air pollution, secondhand smoke and dust, fumes and chemicals (which are often work-related) can cause COPD.
Stopping smoking can help prevent COPD and also slow the progression of the disease if you’ve already been diagnosed. If diagnosed early enough, you can save most of the lung function you have left.
Men consistently have higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations than women.
- Among drivers in fatal motor-vehicle traffic crashes, men are almost twice as likely as women to have been intoxicated (i.e., a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater).
- Excessive alcohol consumption increases aggression and, as a result, can increase the risk of physically assaulting another person.
- Men are more likely than women to commit suicide, and more likely to have been drinking prior to committing suicide
- Excessive alcohol use can lead to impotence, infertility, and the reduction of facial and chest hair. Alcohol consumption also increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon in men.
Alcohol abuse is the most common cause of liver disease in North America. In chronic alcohol abuse, fat accumulation occurs in liver cells affecting their ability to function.
Cirrhosis is a late-stage of liver disease where the scarring of the liver and loss of functioning liver cells cause the liver to fail.
Both men and women get depression. But men can experience it differently than women. Men may be more likely to feel very tired and irritable, but have difficulty sleeping. Men also tend to lose interest in their work, family, or hobbies. Though women are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to die by suicide.
Because many men are less likely to talk about how they are feeling, they rarely acknowledge their depression, let alone seek help for it. Depression is treatable and most men can overcome it and get back to their regular way of life with work, family and hobbies.
Contributing factors in depression usually include a combination of these factors:
- Brain chemistry and hormones
90% of cases of type 2 diabetes could be prevented simply through a healthier diet and plenty of physical activity.
Symptoms may include:
- increased thirst
- increased hunger
- frequent urination, especially at night
- unexplained weight loss
- blurred vision
- sores that don’t heal
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor to get tested.
In a recent survey, just 51% of US men reported using sunscreen in the past 12 months, and an alarming 70% did not know the warning signs of skin cancer. In 2012, twice as many men died of melanoma than women. Family history also plays a role in your chances of developing skin cancer.
Using sunscreen, wearing proper clothing, and avoiding the sun during peak daylight hours are keys to prevention.
Only 30% of men are aware of the signs of skin cancer. Monthly self-screening is important to prevention, so it’s important to know what to look for.
Follow the ABCD rule to recognize abnormal growths:
- A is for Asymmetry: A mole that has an irregular shape, or two different looking halves.
- B is for Border: Irregular, blurred, rough or notched edges may be signs of skin cancer.
- C is for Color: Most moles are an even color – brown, black, tan or even pink – but changes in the shade or distribution of color throughout the mole can signal melanoma.
- D is for Diameter: Moles larger than ¼ inch (6 mm, the size of a pencil eraser) across may be suspect, although some melanomas may be smaller than this.
Regular check-ups are important so your doctor can stay in-tune with you and your health. But an even-bigger key to good health is taking care of yourself by eating right, exercising, not smoking, and limiting alcohol intake.