Top 5 health risks all men should know about
If you’re a man who visits a doctor only when a major issue comes up, you’re not alone. Men are less likely than women to seek routine care, which may mean men are also less likely to know the risk factors that could end up negatively affecting their physical and mental health.
With this subject in mind, it may be helpful to consider the top five issues that commonly affect men’s health:
1. Stroke is a leading cause of death and long-term disability in men. A stroke is caused either by a clot obstructing blood flow to the brain or by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing blood flow. The chance of stroke increases with age, but it can happen at any time.
- What to do: High blood pressure is the most significant risk factor, so staying within a healthy range is important. Smoking also increases the chance of strokes. If you smoke, consider quitting for good.
2. Heart disease accounts for about 1 in 4 deaths of men (in the U.S). Heart disease includes a range of conditions that affect your heart, such as coronary artery disease. Even without symptoms, you can still be at risk.
- What to do: High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, along with age, family history and some lifestyle choices. Know your blood pressure and keep it at a healthy level.
3. Cancers common in men include lung, colorectal, prostate and testicular. Learning the basics about these cancers can help you know when it’s time to act. Self-checks, self-care and regular visits with your doctor are other easy things you can do to stay healthy or catch something suspicious before it becomes a serious problem.
- What to do: The best way to reduce your risk of lung cancer is to abstain from using tobacco and avoid secondhand smoke. Know your family history with the disease, follow screening guidelines and discuss concerns with your primary care provider for other cancers.
4. Kidney stones are on the rise for everyone, but men are more likely than women to develop them. The hard, pebble-like materials form in the kidneys when high levels of certain minerals are present in urine. If you have a family history of kidney stones, you are more likely to deal with them. Also, if you develop kidney stones once, you’re more likely to get them again.
- What to do: Drinking enough water daily keeps your urine diluted and may help flush away minerals that might form stones. It’s recommended men drink almost four litres of liquid daily.
5. Depression affects at least 6 million men every year. Even though efforts to end the stigma around mental health continue, some men may still struggle in silence. Other men may appear to be angry or aggressive instead of sad and may not recognize these behaviours as symptoms of depression.
- Take action: Learn the signs of depression, in case they pop up for you. If you feel like symptoms are affecting your daily activities, consider discussing them with a doctor or mental health professional.
Even if you’re in fairly good shape, it can be challenging to keep track of all the tests, vaccines and other preventive measures needed to stay on top of your health. That’s why it’s important to have an annual exam. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen your primary care provider, think about scheduling an appointment.
For more information about preventive health tips for men, visit diagnostar.com.