Some men struggle to look after their mental and physical well-being, which may cause them to skip checkups and preventive screenings that can help them live longer, healthier lives. Men who don't take proactive steps may develop serious health issues. The good news is, there’s a lot you can do to take control of your health, starting with prioritizing prevention. From eating better and visiting your physician for regular checkups to quitting bad habits like smoking, here are several steps you can take to reduce risk for these 8 common men's health issues (and maybe more!) at any age.
More men die of heart disease than any other cause of death. Men can play an active role in their heart health by managing their unique risk factors. This should include eating a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, quitting smoking, staying active, reducing stress and taking medications as instructed by your healthcare provider.
Also, be sure to schedule and attend regular checkups with your primary care physician and/or specialist. These visits are an opportunity to get screenings or tests (like blood pressure or cholesterol) that may help detect heart problems before they become more serious.How healthy is your heart? Take the free Heart Risk Assessment.
Healthcare experts suggest a combination of a healthy lifestyle and regular screenings to keep these cancers at bay. Simple actions like wearing sunscreen, limiting processed or red meat, quitting smoking and talking to your doctor about testing can all go a long way toward reducing your cancer risk.
Compared to women, men have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes at a lower weight. This is partly because male bodies have more belly fat, which itself raises the risk of this chronic disease. Managing your weight and getting more exercise can help reduce this risk. It's also good to know your risk for prediabetes so that you can act early. Take this prediabetes risk test from the CDC to get started.Need help losing weight? Take the free Bariatric Surgery Assessment.
Erectile dysfunction is common in men, especially those older than 75, but that doesn't mean it should impact your sex life. Treatments such as medications can help, and actions like quitting smoking or limiting alcohol can have a preventive effect, too. In any case, it's good to get any symptoms checked out by your doctor, as this condition could be a sign of a more severe issue, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
HPV and other STIs
As the most common sexually transmitted infection, human papillomavirus (HPV) often resolves on its own. Still, some men with HPV can develop certain health problems such as penile cancer or genital warts from the infection. HPV vaccines can help prevent infection, but they will likely be most beneficial before a person is 26. Condoms are also an important measure to prevent HPV and other STIs.
Testosterone starts to drop in a man's thirties, but if that natural decline causes unwelcome symptoms like low sex drive or trouble concentrating, ask your physician whether you need a blood test to check your hormone levels. Your doctor can help diagnose any underlying issues that may be causing the "low-T" and discuss options like testosterone replacement therapy.
Depression can go undiagnosed in men because the symptoms don't always align with what they might expect. Men sometimes experience depression as anger or irritability rather than sadness. They're also more likely to sweep these feelings under the rug. If you suspect you are suffering from depression, take the first step by talking with your provider. Remember, providers are trained to help, not judge.
COVID-19 can hit men harder. Research has found that men who contract the disease have a higher risk of hospital interventions and death. Now that COVID-19 vaccines are more widely available, getting vaccinated can help prevent the risk of infection altogether.
Manage your health with preventive, proactive care
No matter what health issues you might face, you can take charge of your well-being by taking preventive and proactive steps today. Take care of your body inside and out, and consider your physician a partner in your healthcare. They can guide you toward recommended tests, answer any questions you may have and put you on a path to better health.
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