Men’s Health: 7 Major Threats to be Aware of
Men are generally far less likely to take care of their health than women. For a start, they are more likely to smoke and drink than women and tend to make riskier choices when it comes to lifestyle. Men will also often ignore symptoms or put off going to see the doctor.
There are also certain conditions that men are uniquely at risk of such as prostate and testicular cancer.
Many of the health issues that men face can be prevented if they entertain healthier life choices such as not smoking, moderating alcohol, eating a healthy diet and taking regular exercise.
Recognizing the risks and symptoms and going for a check-up with a doctor can also make early diagnosis and recovery more likely.
Men’s Health Issues
Here we look at health conditions which affect men and how thinking more about personal health and wellbeing can make a huge difference.
Heart disease is a significant health threat in the US and accounts for 1 in 4 deaths in males. There could be as many as 1 in 3 men who have some level of cardiovascular disease where plaques of cholesterol gradually block up the arteries.
The risk factors associated with the disease include having high cholesterol because of bad diet, high blood pressure and regular poor habits such as drinking and smoking.
The liver is responsible for removing toxins from the body, metabolizing fats and a whole host of other functions. Liver disease generally develops slowly and silently and it isn’t until the condition has progressed significantly that symptoms begin to manifest.
Men are more at risk of developing liver disease because they tend to drink and smoke more. They are also less likely to seek medical advice if they do start to show symptoms, something which can make early diagnosis more difficult.
The majority of lung cancers are caused because of smoking, a habit which is more prevalent amongst men compared to women. Men are also likely to be involved in higher-risk work, for example, those in the construction industry who are exposed to asbestos.
Although fewer men are smoking in the US, lung cancer remains one of the leading causes of death. Stopping smoking at any age, even in later life, can significantly reduce the risk of developing lung disease.
Around 200,000 men a year develop prostate cancer. Around 15% of men will develop the disease at some time in their lives but just 1 in 41 will actually die from it. That’s because the most prominent form develops slowly and can be managed effectively once diagnosed.
60% of men who develop prostate cancer are over the age of 65 and there may be racial and genetic factors that contribute to risk. There is some evidence to suggest that obesity can influence the risk of developing prostate cancer in the first place, but there’s even stronger evidence to suggest that obesity increases the risk of death from this disease.
Type 2 diabetes is one of the biggest public health concerns throughout the world. Men are more likely to have poor eating habits and drink and smoke than women which increases their risk of developing the disease.
If diabetes is not managed properly it can lead to severe health problems such as neuropathy, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease.
Nearly 40% of men over the age of 39 experience some form of erectile dysfunction. This can often be a symptom of another serious medical issue and it’s important to have a check-up with a doctor if problems arise in this area of male health.
The main cause of erectile dysfunction is arteriosclerosis where the blood vessels become narrowed. Various things can influence this including age, lifestyle, emotional states such as stress and the presence of disease.
Depression and Suicide
It’s a common belief that men tend to hide their feelings and soldier on rather than discuss their problems and negative thoughts with another person. Depression and suicide are very common in males and it is the 8th most common cause of death.
It’s estimated that there may be more than 6 million men who suffer from depression, including thoughts of suicide, each year in the US.
The aforementioned health conditions, which affect men, can be very severe and even life-threatening, but they are also often preventable. By making lifestyle changes, being aware and paying attention to personal health, one can reduce their risk of being affected by many medical conditions.
Steps individuals can take immediately are:
- Stop smoking
- Cut down alcohol
- Eat a healthy diet
- Keep a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Deal with stress
Men will often ignore symptoms when they occur. Even with a healthy lifestyle, it does not completely eradicate the risk of developing any of the above conditions. It’s important that individuals see their physician and discuss any symptoms and potential medical issues or emotional problems, including depression and thoughts of suicide.