Top Health Concerns for Men
June is Men’s Health Month – a time to raise awareness of preventable medical issues and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men.
Studies show that men are less likely to seek healthcare than women and often experience health difficulties that can go unnoticed or neglected. As such, men tend to have higher mortality rates for a number of diseases that if caught, are largely preventable.
We encourage men to commit to receiving regular health checkups and all age-appropriate screenings so that they can maintain optimal health and live long happy healthy lives.
Health Concerns by Age
Men in their 20s don’t have many age-based health concerns, making this decade an ideal time to focus on good habits so as not to create serious health problems down the road. Here are a few habits to consider:
- Regular Physical Exams: It’s important for all men to check in with their primary care doctor for regular physical exams. This will ensure all is in working order and small problems do not become major and more difficult to treat in later life.
- Blood Pressure: Men are recommended to have their blood pressure checked every year starting at age 18. Because high blood pressure is symptomless, many men don’t know they have it, and the only way to know is to get screened. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or kidney failure.
- Eat and Drink Healthily: Males in their twenties typically have a fairly high metabolism, making them appear physically fit, despite a poor diet. This age group can also be prone to binge drinking. Getting routine lab work and discussing diet, alcohol consumption, and exercise routines with a provider can help screen for medical issues that may not be suspected just by looking at a person from the outside.
Men in their 30s and 40s should focus on preventive care, especially when it comes to the heart. Good habits formed in these years could put men at less risk for heart disease in their late 40s and early 50s.
- Cholesterol: Men over age 35 should have their cholesterol checked every 5 years but more often if at an increased risk for heart disease. Cholesterol levels are closely related to the risk of heart disease, and men over the age of 45 are at the highest risk.
- Stress: Men under stress are at an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or even a heart attack. Regular exercise and healthy coping skills are crucial to protect your health and mind.
- Prostate: Men should get screened for prostate cancer beginning at age 40 for African Americans due to genetics and at age 50 for all men. At a minimum an enlarged prostate can cause discomfort, at its worst, it could lead to cancer. Enlarged prostate is considered the most common health problem among men over age 50, and other than skin cancer, it is the most common cancer in American men.
Men 50 and older should pay special attention to their personal cancer risk. Though colon cancer is one of the most common cancers in older men, men’s cancer risk is influenced by their family history and lifestyle choices. To identify your risk levels, we recommend that you speak to your primary care provider.
- Colon Cancer: Starting at age 50, men (and women) should get screened for colon cancer, as it’s the second leading cause of death from cancer in American men. More than 90% of colon cancers occur in people over age 50, and the cancer is far more treatable if caught early through screening.
- Heart Health: It’s important to monitor heart health, as heart disease is the leading cause of death in men. Poor diet, stress, and lack of exercise in younger years can become heart issues later. Assess your risk level with your provider to determine the frequency of screenings for cholesterol, blood pressure, and general cardiovascular health.
- Immunizations: Starting at age 50, men (and women) are recommended to obtain their first dose of the Shingles vaccine, followed by the second dose 2-6 months later. At age 65 (or earlier depending on chronic medical conditions), all adults are recommended to receive the Pneumococcal vaccine. Schedule an appointment to talk with your provider about receiving these vaccines.
One of the most important steps you can take toward a healthier future is to link up with a value-based primary care doctor. Regular visits with a primary care doctor you trust will help you take advantage of preventive care opportunities and lifestyle changes.