Being a man means a lot of things. Being a provider, being a person who can balance work with family, being confident, and being a man who takes care of his health. What a minute. The last part of that sentence “being a man who takes care of his health” – is that factually so?
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, here are some stats that don’t quite add up to men always taking good care of themselves:
- Men are 24 percent less likely than women to have seen a doctor in the past year
- Men are 32 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for long-term complications of diabetes and are more than twice as likely as women to have a leg or foot amputated due to complications related to diabetes.
- Men are 24 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for pneumonia that could have been prevented by getting an immunization.
- Men are 28 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for congestive heart failure.
Movember, also known as No-Shave November, is an entire month devoted to bringing awareness to men’s health. Given the fact that men in the U.S. die on average 6 years younger than women and they are more likely to die from eight out of the ten leading causes of death in the U.S. than women, it’s time for men to take care of their health. The single most important way for men to be in control of their health is educate themselves by taking an active role in their health care. Men need to get smart about their health and to take the preventative measures necessary to get and stay healthy.
Major health issues men face
Some of the biggest disease conditions affect men more than women. Here is some of the leading health issues men face:
- Cancer – One in two men are at risk of developing some type of cancer in their lifetime and one in four is at risk of dying as a result. Some of the leading cancers affecting men in the U.S. are colorectal, lung, and prostate.
- Depression, anxiety, and suicide – American men take their own life four times more than women. The National Institute of Mental Health finds that men tend to disregard symptoms of poor mental health and therefore are not receiving the treatment necessary to address this issue.
- Heart disease – The leading killer of men in the U.S. is heart related events which include heart attack, stroke, and coronary artery disease. Men who are overweight, smoke, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol are at a greater risk.
- Type 2 diabetes – Almost 30 million Americans have diabetes and out of this number, more than a quarter are not yet aware they have it. For men who are of African American or Hispanic descent, they have an increased risk of diabetes and especially if they are overweight/obese and as they get older.
Besides major health issues men face, there are also several less commonly known or talked about health concerns of men which include the following:
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia – Also known as BPH, this condition refers to an enlarged prostate gland. During a man’s life, his prostate will go through two growth periods – the first in puberty when the prostate will double in size. The second phase of growth begins around age 25 and continues during most of a man’s life. BPH begins often occurs with the second growth phase. As the prostate enlarges, the gland presses against and pinches the urethra causing symptoms of urine leakage, reducing urine stream, and causing an excessive need to urinate frequently. Half of all men between ages 51 and 60 have BPH.
- Dyslipidemia – When there are abnormally high or low levels of lipids or fats in the blood it is known as dyslipidemia. This condition is a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease. The lipids commonly measure in blood include cholesterol and triglycerides. Men with high levels of either type of lipid, have diabetes and/or obesity, are especially at risk.
- Gout – Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that develops in some people who have high levels of uric acid in the blood. It can result in severe pain, redness and tenderness when crystals form in the big toe or other joints. Gout attacks can occur suddenly when something (such as night of drinking) causes uric acid to spike triggering the attack. Gout is more common in men than women affecting about 6 million men compared to 2 million women in the U.S. Men appear to be affected more due to having higher levels of uric acid than women. If left untreated, it can lead to joint damage and other complications such as skin nodules and kidney stones.
Preventative steps for men
Many men have a lot of work to do to get their health in better shape. For men, up to 70% of their overall health depends on their lifestyle choices. But that can be a good thing – if a man is willing to make those lifestyle changes. When men embrace these changes, it can make a world of difference in what disease conditions he may or may not develop.
Here are important preventative steps all men can do to gain good health by making these habits a normal part of his life:
- Eat a healthy diet – It goes without saying but you really are what you eat. Aim for at least 4-5 servings every day of fruits and vegetables, choose lean protein sources, whole grains, nuts and seeds, lowfat dairy, and choose water as your main beverage.
- Exercise most days of the week – Engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity at least 150 minutes each week. Have a combination of using aerobics, strength training and flexibility exercises for a well-rounded routine.
- Don’t smoke or chew tobacco – One in five men smoke cigarettes. This unhealthy habit significantly increases the risk of lung cancer and heart disease while making other illnesses that much more severe. Never take up the habit and for those who have, find ways to quit.
- Have yearly checkups – Routine checkups are vital. From visiting the dentist, eye doctor and family physician, these yearly exams can be literal lifesavers. Not only do they monitor and manage any health changes but also can “catch” early-on any minor health issues needing addressed right away before they turn into major chronic health problems.
Dr. David Samadiis the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.