Common Men’s Health Problems, and How to Avoid Them

According to Harvard Medical School, the average man pays less attention to his health than the average woman. While this is a problem by itself, men are also more likely to drink alcohol, use tobacco, make risky choices, and NOT see a doctor. Unsurprisingly, they face health challenges that women don’t, which can lead to problems down the road.

Whether you’re a man who’s reading this, or have male loved ones you wish would be more proactive, the best time to build healthy habits is now. Remember, prevention is always easier than trying to find a cure. Here are some common health problems that men face, and how to avoid them in the first place.

Common Men’s Health Problems

Heart Disease — This is the leading cause of death among men in the United States, with approximately one in every four male deaths attributed to heart disease. It is the leading cause of death among men regardless of ethnicity.

The risk of heart disease can be decreased by making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a heart-healthy diet. It is also important to regularly monitor blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and to see a doctor if any abnormalities are detected.

Prostate Cancer It is the second most common cancer among men, with an estimated one in every eight men being diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Early detection is key to successfully treating prostate cancer, so it is important for men over the age of 50 to get regular prostate exams. Men with a family history of prostate cancer or African American men should start getting screened at age 45.

It can be slow to develop, and current treatment protocols are very effective. That is why screening is so important.

Erectile Dysfunction — Also known as ED, it is a common problem among men, particularly as they age. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, anxiety, side effects from medication, and underlying health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. To prevent ED, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, manage stress, and seek treatment for any underlying health conditions.

Meet with your family physician if you have concerns regarding your ability to have erections. You should also see your doctor if you have:

  • Premature or delayed ejaculation
  • Heart disease, diabetes, or other conditions that might be related to erectile dysfunction

Testicular Cancer While relatively rare, it is the most common cancer among men aged 15-35. Diagnosis affects one out of every 250 men and boys.

The risk of death from testicular cancer can be decreased by performing regular self-exams and seeking medical attention if any abnormalities are detected. Treatment is usually very successful, particularly if the cancer is caught early.

Depression — While often dismissed by men, it is a serious mental health condition. Men who are depressed are four times as likely to take their lives as women who are depressed. Despite that, men are often reluctant to seek help. To prevent depression, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, manage stress, and seek help if you are struggling.

The classic signs of depression are despondency, loss of interest in work and hobbies, changes in weight and sleep, fatigue, and trouble concentrating. Men can also have symptoms including anger, substance abuse, and agitation.

Healthy Habits Made Easy

Encourage the men in your life to understand how important it is to get regular care. Living longer and healthier requires effort — especially getting routine medical checkups, quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol, getting or staying active, and seeking mental health help if it is needed.

AltaMed provides a complete host of health care services for every member of the family at every stage of life. Call (888) 499-9303 for more information.

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Focus Turns to Men’s Health in June

With Father’s Day falling in June each year, it seems appropriate to focus on men’s health in June as well.

Men aren’t as healthy as women, statistically speaking. On average, men live five fewer years than women. They’re at higher risk of heart disease, lung cancer and HIV. Men also have to deal with the potential for prostate cancer unlike women. But men don’t escape breast cancer. While rare, one in every 100 breast cancer diagnoses are in men.

What’s the deal, gentlemen?

Man Smiling in a Garden

What the Data Says

Before getting into the “why,” let’s look at the “what.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have the statistics on men’s health. It’s not pretty.

  • 13.2% — Men aged 18 and over in fair or poor health
  • 30.9% — Men aged 18 and over who had five or more drinks on at least one day in the past year
  • 42.4% — Men aged 18 and over who do not meet minimum physical activity guidelines
  • 14.1% — Men aged 18 and over who smoke cigarettes
  • 40.5% — Men aged 20 and over with obesity
  • 51.9% — Men aged 20 and over with high blood pressure
  • 12.3% — Men under 65 without health insurance coverage

Now, the Why

Women have always lived longer than men. It has a lot to do with a combination of biological, social, and behavioral factors.

  • Biological — There are some theories a woman’s X chromosome provides better protection against genetic diseases than a man’s Y chromosome. Estrogen seems to do a better job of protecting against heart disease.
  • Social — Work-related stress is seen as a contributor to men’s vulnerability. More women in the workplace could be closing that gap. Women, however, have larger social networks and supports than men. That’s psychologically helpful.
  • Behavioral — Men are more apt to do risky things from the time they’re boys. They have this daredevil mentality that is sometimes carried through adulthood. Men also tend to be more aggressive and violent. A man is four times more likely to die from homicide or suicide than a woman. Men are also more likely to smoke, abuse alcohol, abuse drugs, eat poorly and not exercise. Men are also more likely to avoid trips to the doctor.

Son and Father Fixing a Bike

Make Basic Changes

The steps men should take to stay healthy are the same steps we should all take to stay healthy. They include:

  • Avoiding all forms of tobacco
  • Eating more fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean proteins, and whole grains
  • Eating less red meat, processed foods, sugary drinks, sweets, salty foods
  • Exercising 30 minutes a day
  • Exercising for strength two to three times a week
  • Stretching two to three times a week
  • Limiting yourself to two drinks a day
  • Reducing stress
  • Avoiding risky behavior
  • Getting regular checkups, including prostate checks, screenings, and immunizations.
  • Protecting your skin from the sun
  • Looking for the joy in life

Men Need Doctors Too

Having a doctor you feel comfortable talking to is important. AltaMed has skilled physicians who speak your language. Use the Find a Doctor tool to locate a doctor near you who speaks your language and get on the road to good health. You can also call (888) 499-9303.

Heart Exam

It’s Time to Check on Your Heart

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, maybe hearts have been on your mind. And while it’s fun to celebrate with candy hearts, your real heart deserves a moment too. 

February is American Heart Month, aimed at increasing awareness of heart health. According to the CDC, someone suffers a heart attack every 40 seconds in the United States. Heart disease is a serious issue and accounted for 1 in 5 deaths in 2020. Luckily, overall cases are on the decline. This month, make sure you’re giving your heart the love it deserves.

Tick the Right Boxes

Heart disease is, to an extent, genetic. It can be passed from one generation to another. However, by building healthy habits, you can lower your risk. The steps below will not only improve your overall health but keep your heart in tip-top shape:

  • Eat healthy — Reduce your intake of processed foods like lunchmeat, chips, candy, and fast food. Make your meals colorful with lots of leafy green vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy.
  • Start moving — You don’t have to run a marathon. Just move about 30 minutes a day. Take a brisk walk after dinner or first thing in the morning. It’s important to get your heart rate up for a total of 150 minutes a week.
  • Control cholesterol and blood pressure — More exercise, more fiber in your diet, less red meat, and less dairy will all contribute to lowering your cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Decreasing salt also helps.
  • Don’t drink excessively — It can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart failure, or stroke. Excessive drinking can also lead to obesity which is a contributing factor in heart-related diseases.
  • Reduce stress — Prolonged stress can cause long-term damage to health including cardiovascular disease. Try to remove or reduce stressors in your life.

Other Risk Factors

Ignoring the tips above can lead to a higher risk of developing heart disease. There are some other factors outside your control like family history. You’re also at higher risk if:

  • You’re a woman over 55
  • You’re a man over 45
  • Your father or brother had heart disease before 55
  • Your mother or sister had heart disease before 65

Jump Start a Healthy Heart

There is so much you can do to take care of your heart that it may be a little overwhelming. AltaMed is here to help get you on a path to healthy living and keep you there.

Our Healthy Heart Program encourages participants to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. Each week, we’ll focus on topics likes stress management, exercise, nutrition, and medication compliance. The program maintains a positive, support group-type environment. Participants work together and motivate each other to succeed.

It is recommended for people who want to achieve healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Call (323) 558-7606 to enroll.

Common Men’s Health Problems, and How to Avoid Them