Men’s health refers to a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, as experienced by men, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Some conditions that affect both men and women, such as cancer, and injury, also manifest differently in men.
The average man pays less attention to his health than the average woman. Compared to women, men are more likely to:
- drink alcohol and use tobacco
- make risky choices
- not see a doctor for regular checkups
When it comes to prevention and early detection, men’s health often take a back seat to women’s health. Men are assailed by diseases that can affect anyone—heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, depression as well as unique issues such as prostate cancer and benign prostate enlargement.
Many of the major health risks that men face can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle: regular exercise, a healthy diet, not smoking, stress reduction, and alcohol consumption in the moderate range if at all.
Regular checkups and screening tests can spot disease early, when it is easiest to treat.
Maintaining good health doesn’t happen by accident. It requires work, smart lifestyle choices, and the occasional checkup and test.
Try to get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week. Taking a walk, jogging, swimming and mowing the lawn all count.
Research shows that even short bursts of physical activity—as few as 10 minutes of intense activity several times a day—can help men improve their health.
A FEW COMMON HEALTH PROBLEMS IN MEN
As men age, they tend to gain weight, with much of it settling in the gut. Often referred to as a “beer belly,” a widening waist, especially over 40 inches, can raise the risk of heart disease. It can indicate the presence of too much visceral fat (abdominal fat), the type that is stored around your internal organs. Some studies show a link between visceral fat and a variety of cardiovascular health problems. However, proper diet and exercise can help reduce your waistline, as well as your risk for obesity-related diseases.
Snoring affects about 44% of men, making it more common in men than in women. It can be affected by the position you sleep in, medications you take, alcohol, and underlying medical conditions. It also can be a sign of a serious sleep disorder called sleep apnea, which stops sleepers’ breathing for short periods. If snoring disrupts your sleep or your partner’s sleep, consult your doctor to rule out any medical conditions.
Bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by smoking or eating strong-smelling foods, but most often it is caused by bacteria in the mouth. Proper dental hygiene, including tooth brushing, flossing, and mouthwash, can usually remove the offensive odor. Several underlying medical conditions such as gum disease, dry mouth, acid reflux, sinusitis, and diabetes can cause bad breath. If your symptoms of bad breath persist even with proper oral care, contact your doctor or dentist.
Male sexual dysfunction may feel embarrassing, but by age 40 nearly 40% of all men have experienced a sexual dysfunction of some kind. This may mean decreased libido, premature ejaculation, or an inability to get or maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction, or ED). Often sexual dysfunction in men is related to an underlying condition, smoking, or medications. Talk to your doctor if you experience sexual problems to rule out diabetes, low testosterone, heart disease, neurologic conditions, and circulation problems.
Hearing loss is a common problem, especially as we age. Loud or continuous noise can make it harder to hear. It may affect your ability to hear high-pitched noises, or it can result in ringing or buzzing in the ears. To prevent some forms of hearing loss, wear earplugs and keep your personal music player headphones at a low volume. Avoid loud noises or music whenever possible, and especially avoid listening to them for long periods of time.
As men age, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate, is a common problem. It affects about 1 in 3 men over age 50, and up to 90% of men by age 85. The prostate is a gland that surrounds the urethra, and when it is enlarged it can cause symptoms including the feeling of needing to urinate more often or more urgently, or frequent nighttime urination. Talk to your doctor about behavioral modifications or medications to help relieve symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
Going to your health care provider for regular checkups could just save your life. You do not have to wait to feel unwell before having an annual or twice a year health check.
By keeping up with these appointments, your health care provider can make sure you stay up-to-date with regular important preventive health screenings specific to age, gender, family and even work. It also gives you a chance to talk about any health concerns or changes you’ve noticed.
Here a few quick tips to help you navigate:
Always provide your family medical history.
Regular check of Body mass index (BMI), Waist measurement, Cholesterol, Blood sugar, Blood pressure.
Annual Dental check.
Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Lose the gut for good.
Drink alcohol in moderation.
Don’t use tobacco.
Practice safe sex.
Sexual transmitted infection screening (HIV, HPV, Hepatitis, Chlamydia etc)
Buckle up in a car and maintain safety on the road.
Skin protection against UV rays.
Learn to manage stress.
Now take that decision and make that change.
This is a good time to register with a good facility/ doctor that is committed to working in partnership with you to improve your general health and address any specific problems. Don’t leave it until tomorrow as that might be too late.
Early Detection is Key.