In a society where masculinity is equated with being tough, strong, and stoic, men’s health issues are often dismissed. What many fail to realize is that men are also susceptible to conditions like depression, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders.
Below, we’ll discuss the most common health issues among men, what causes them, and how they should be treated, while also mentioning some preventative measures you can take to avoid them altogether.
1. Coronary Heart Disease
According to the CDC, heart disease is the number one cause of death in males across all races in the U.S. It’s so prevalent that it accounts for about 25% of all male deaths, which has scary implications if you don’t get treatment early on, and more than 50% don’t even know they have the condition until they suffer a cardiac arrest.
Frequent smokers and people who suffer from high blood pressure and are obese are more susceptible to heart disease. The good news is that this disease is preventable; exercise regularly, prioritize healthy eating habits, limit alcohol consumption, lower your cholesterol levels, and quit smoking.
Cancer claims more than 300,000 American men every year, and the most common types of cancer that affect them are prostate and lung cancer.
The prostate is a tiny organ that sits above the bladder. It produces fluid that protects and nourishes sperm, but things can go south quickly if it’s not functioning properly.
In the U.S. alone, there are over 200 000 new cases each year, and while a small percentage die from this disease, it’s still crucial that you take care of yourself. Prostate cancer is not preventable, but it can be treated when detected early, so ensure you go for regular screening.
Lung cancer is the most common form of lung disease, and it causes more male deaths than any other type of cancer. The most frightening part about lung cancer is that it can spread silently and rapidly before you notice any symptoms. This makes the disease even more deadly because more than half of men who are diagnosed don’t get to live past a year.
Smoking accounts for about 90% of all lung cancer cases, and the best way to prevent it is to quit smoking.
Diabetes is a condition where glucose levels are too high in your body, leading to sugar accumulation and ultimately poisoned blood vessels. This can lead to heart attacks or strokes, among other things, if left unchecked for long periods. To keep your blood sugar level normal and prevent diabetes, you should: quit smoking, exercise regularly, lose weight if you’re overweight, and stick to a healthy diet.
4. Anxiety, Depression and Other Mental Health Issues
In the U.S., mental illness affects young adults more than any other group and can have a devastating impact on their lives due to its high prevalence among this demographic group. Suicide, self-injury, drug and alcohol abuse are all common effects of mental health illness and the leading cause of mental health patients in males between 15 to 24 years.
Young men often experience mental health issues due to the stresses in their lives. These can include things like breakups, traumas or losing a job, or other major events which cause them great emotional pain. Social isolation, loneliness, and alcohol consumption have also been shown to cause mental health illnesses.
Many people never attribute their sadness to anything other than a cold or the flu, but depression can be an illness that requires professional care. Men who suffer from this condition often feel ignored and misunderstood due in part to society’s perception of what it takes to be a man.
5. Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction or ED is a condition that affects nearly half of all men over 40 and up to 70% of men in their seventies. According to Felix Health Blog, ED is often an early warning sign for heart disease or other severe issues like diabetes that could lead to premature death without proper treatment and management.
Other contributing factors include low testosterone levels, clogged arteries, stress, and depression. ED doesn’t only ruin a man’s sex life; it can wreak havoc on his self-esteem and affect his marriage. Luckily there are treatments out there for this condition, including medications. The best way to prevent erectile dysfunction may be as simple as quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption.
If it presents as a warning sign of another medical condition, the best treatment would be to treat the underlying issue. You can also practice healthy habits such as eating healthy and exercising regularly to prevent other conditions such as coronary heart disease that cause ED.
6. STIs and STDs
STIs (sexually transmitted infections) are a serious issue that can lead to long-term negative impacts on adolescent boys and young men. Unsafe sex, including vaginal or anal penetration with no barrier protection, results in the transfer of STDs and STIs.
While some may be treatable, others such as HPV and HIV/AIDS have no cure. This makes prevention key: make sure you’re using barriers such as condoms safely. The threat goes beyond physical harm since emotional distress is also possible when an individual realizes he has been infected.
Addiction is a chronic disease that affects over 21 million adults in America. Researchers discovered several differences between genders regarding their experiences and proclivities for drugs; males are more likely than females across all age brackets to abuse drugs.
The major causes of substance abuse leading to addiction include stress and depression, early use, peer pressure, and genetic predisposition to substance use. The best way to prevent addiction would be to stop substance use, but extreme cases of addiction can be treated by enrolling in rehabilitation programs.
It’s important to note that these are just a handful of the major issues men can face. Men should take time for themselves and their health by scheduling regular checkups with their doctors.
You can start by having your doctor check for any risk factors or symptoms that may indicate serious conditions, get screened, stay active with low-impact exercises like walking or biking, drink less alcohol, and reduce stress levels. It might not seem like much, but these small changes could make a big difference in preventing health issues from occurring altogether.