As much as I try to live a healthy lifestyle through exercise and nutrition, I’m not as good about getting regular check-ups as I should be. It’s no secret that men pay less attention to their health than women.
Men are more likely to take more risks, not have regular health screenings, and drink alcohol or use tobacco. Yet, cardiovascular disease affects 1 in every 3 men.
Men have health issues common in both men and women, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, and cancer. And just like women, men also have unique health issues such as prostate cancer and noncancerous enlargement, low testosterone, and sexual dysfunction. What’s troubling is that a recent survey done this year found that 1/3 of all men do not believe they need regular health check-ups.
While this can be troubling, the silver lining is that your health is in your control, and you can reduce your risk of common men’s health issues through exercise, diet, and lifestyle choices.
June is National Men’s Health Month, so let’s look at 7 common men’s health issues that can affect men at any age.
Men have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to women, even if they are at a lower weight. A reason for this is men have more belly fat than women. Women generally have a higher percentage of body fat than men. However, they store it in their glute muscles and thighs, whereas men keep it in their abdomen. As fat builds up in the belly, it increases the risk of insulin resistance and type two diabetes. It’s a good idea to have regular screenings of your A1C (glycated hemoglobin) or blood glucose levels to identify your risk of diabetes.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death among men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The most common cancer in men is prostate cancer. The risk of developing prostate cancer increases as a man gets older. Other common cancers in men include lung cancer, colon cancer, bladder cancer, and skin cancer.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men. Unfortunately, being a man is a risk factor for heart disease in itself. Men are more likely to have a heart attack at a younger age, compared to women. Age is also a common risk factor as men develop heart disease on average 10 years before a woman.
The other risk factors for heart disease aren’t biased when it comes to gender, however, men typically have higher blood pressure, are more likely to be obese, and smoke.
The good news is men can take control of their heart health by addressing their unique risk factors. This includes exercise, lowering stress, stopping smoking, and eating a whole foods diet full of organic fruits, vegetables, and meats while reducing processed sugars, alcohol, and unhealthy fats such as butter, lard, and dairy fats.
HPV and other STDs
Men are more likely to have human papillomavirus (HPV) than women. This common sexually transmitted disease is the leading cause of cervical cancer. The troublesome part is that most men do not know they have it because they are less likely to show symptoms, and it often resolves itself. Still, some men with HPV can develop specific health problems such as penile cancer or genital warts from infection.
Men are also more likely to have other sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and HIV/AIDS. The high amount of STDs in men is due to men being less concerned with the number of sexual partners than women. Men are also likely to have double the amount of sexual partners as women.
There is nothing more embarrassing for men than not being able to perform sexually. Erectile dysfunction is normal in men, especially as they get older. Men are less likely to seek treatment for erectile dysfunction due to embarrassment; however, many online companies such as Hims® and Roman® offer treatment without going to the doctor’s office. While ED treatments such as medications can help, it’s crucial to take control of your sexual health by quitting smoking or limiting alcohol.
I’ve got bad news for you, fellas. Once you hit your 30s, your testosterone levels begin to drop significantly. Low testosterone can lead to unwanted symptoms such as low sex drive, brain fog, moodiness, and depression. In fact, low testosterone is one of the leading causes of depression among men.
Changing your diet to include more vitamin D-rich foods, ginger, oysters, leafy green vegetables, fatty fish, and onions can support testosterone production.
One of the most overlooked health concerns is men’s mental health. Men are less likely to talk to someone about mental health issues because of the stigmatism of society. Men are taught at an early age that it isn’t “manly” to be depressed, express low self-esteem, and talk about their mental health. So many men, including myself, struggle with keeping the appearance that we have it together and hiding our mental health struggles.
More than 6 million men are diagnosed with depression every year, and suicide rates among men continue to rise. That’s just the reported number. Remember, many men do not talk about their mental health and put on a strong front to not appear weak. It shouldn’t be this way. The good news is that there are many online options for therapy and counseling. It’s time to start the conversation about men’s mental health.
Regardless of what men’s health issues you may face, the good news is that many of these issues are in your control. By changing your diet, exercising more, and through lifestyle choices, you can lower your risk of these common men’s health issues so you can begin “Living Very Well.”
If you’d like to learn more about how I can help you take control of your wellness, schedule a free consultation, and let’s chat. My Very Well Wellness programs are designed with your unique factors in mind and can put you on the path to a healthier, happier lifestyle.
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Medical disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. While I am a certified nutritionist and wellness coach, I am not providing healthcare, medical, or nutritional therapy services or attempting to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any physical, mental, or emotional issue. The information provided on this website or any materials provided by Very Well Wellness is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Always seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before undertaking a new health regimen. Do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice because of information you read on this website or any materials provided by Very Well Wellness. Do not start or stop any medications without speaking to your medical or mental health provider.
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