This week is Men’s Health Week and we want to highlight some top health concerns for cisgender males. A lot of health concerns for men can be addressed before they progress to larger health issues, however many health issues can be caused by lifestyle choices.
- Heart disease: Heart disease is the number one cause of death among men. Although genetics can play a role, eating the right foods and making healthier choices can greatly reduce the chance of heart disease.
- Cancer: Cancer is the second leading cause of death among men in the United States. Skin, prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers are the leading cancers men are at risk of. A healthy lifestyle and regular screenings will dramatically lower your chance of cancer-related death.
- Diabetes: Men have a higher risk of developing diabetes than women, even at lower body weight. If you are able to maintain a healthy weight, regular exercise and eating the right foods will help keep diabetes from developing.
- Low testosterone/erectile dysfunction: Testosterone levels can start dropping in a man’s 30s. Although erectile dysfunction typically doesn’t become a concern until age 75 and older, low testosterone levels can lead to a lower sex drive. A doctor can give you advice on how to increase low-T and treat erectile dysfunction.
- COPD: The number of men diagnosed with COPD and other respiratory diseases increases year after year. Even though it is typically caused by smoking, some occupational hazards can cause respiratory illness.
- Liver disease: In 2017, two-thirds of the more than 1.3 million deaths caused by liver cirrhosis (damage and scarring) were men.* Genetics, infections, smoking, alcohol, and being overweight can lead to liver disease.
- Depression: Depression often remains undiagnosed for men as it is often expressed as anger or irritability instead of sadness. Feelings of depression are also often ignored by men. Talking to a professional is the first step to getting depression treated.
- Sexually transmitted infections (STDs): HPV is the most common STI in the United States with over 90% of men in the United States contracting it. There is no test to know if you have HPV, your body will fight it off but if you have not received the vaccine there is a chance of developing cancer later in life. According to the CDC, “In 2018, men accounted for 81% of new HIV diagnoses.”** Wearing a condom will reduce the risk of HIV infection and taking PrEP can prevent infection by up to 99%.
Being proactive about your health will not completely stop any health issues you may encounter; however, it will help with frequency and severity.
Being proactive about your health starts with making healthier lifestyle discissions:
- Exercise frequently.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Eat lean meats with good fatty acids while limiting processed and red meat consumption.
- Eat lots of fruits and leafy vegetables.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
- Schedule regular and age-appropriate exams with your doctor.
- Wear a condom and consider going on PrEP if you have multiple sexual partners.