Common Health Issues in Men
More boys than girls are born each year in the US. However, the lifespan of women continues to improve on that of men. In 1920, women only outlived men by one year, on average, compared to over five years now – And, out of the 15 main causes of death in the US, men are top of the table on 14 of these.
What Are The Reasons For This?
It’s partly biological, but men’s approach to their health can be accountable for the lion’s share of the problem.
Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests women are 33% more likely to visit a doctor simply to check a minor symptom.
Subsequently, when men finally reach the doctor’s chair, research shows an increased chance they’ve developed a more serious condition. The common approach from men is that if they can continue to work and fulfill their role at home and in society then “they’re OK”. Often though, tiny ailments that are ignored, or go completely unnoticed due to lack of attention, can lead to more severe consequences down the road.
Top Health Threats To Men In The U.S.
Cardiovascular Disease (CD)
The U.S., sadly, have staggeringly high mortality rates of Cardiovascular Disease, largely due to poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle.
One in five people in the US die from C.D., with men at greater risk. Also, this disease attacks men at a younger age than women, with the average age of death at just 65. For women it is 71.
Cholesterol plays a huge part in male health problems. A diet high in saturated fat as well as smoking and high blood pressure are the main contributing factors to high cholesterol, which blocks arteries to the heart eventually causing blood clots leading to a stroke or heart attack.
Advice from health experts is to reduce saturated fats, quit smoking, control stress and exercise for around 30 minutes most days. A cholesterol check can help assess the risk factor but any symptoms such as shortness of breath should be a sign to visit the doctor.
Whilst other cancers are more common, lung cancer continues to be the leading cancer killer for men and tobacco is responsible for 90% of all cases.
Fewer men die each year, thanks to reducing smoking rates although the American Lung Association still report that more men are diagnosed with lung cancer than before.
Stopping smoking, at whatever age, can significantly reduce the risks of this deadly disease. And with no truly effective screening it is important to be health conscious to aid prevention.
Statistics show that over 200,000 men in the US, at some stage, will develop prostate cancer. Whilst one in six are diagnosed, one in 35 cases will cause death.
Many cancers of the prostate are slow growing and don’t spread. However, others are more aggressive so complacency is simply not an option.
Men with prostate problems may find it difficult to urinate. This is because the prostate gland becomes enlarged and when urine passes through it can cause burning and discomfort. A digital rectal exam and a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test can help diagnose and that requires a visit to the doctor.
Getting to know your prostate gland and understanding how it works can help spot early signs of cancer.
Other common health issues for men
- Testicular cancer – only 1% of men in the US will suffer from testicular cancer although it does affect younger men, typically between 15 and 39. Check for lumps, swelling and pain in the testicles and seek help from a doctor if concerned.
- Skin cancer – is in fact the number one cancer in men over 50, attributed to more sun exposure and lack of attention to things like sun protection creams. The advice: cover up, use sunscreen and avoid being outside in the middle of the day.
- Diabetes – there is a staggering one in three chance that boys born in 2000 will develop diabetes. Obesity and diets high in sugar are contributing to this sad epidemic in the US
- Depression – suicide is the eighth highest cause of death in men and the National Institute of Mental Health report over six million men suffer from depression. Men, again, are high risk as they fail to seek help. Alcohol abuse can also play a part.
Men: Your Health is Important!
The body is a complex machine that needs looking after. The same as your car, it requires fuel, maintenance and care and help from professionals to keep it in good condition.
We should encourage men, at every opportunity, to seek help from health professionals. Do you use practical demonstrations with male pelvis models to educate men on how they can better understand their own bodies and prevent common health problems?