Men’s health issues for over 50’s include an increased risk of contracting chronic and degenerative diseases and the consequences of a poor diet, lack of exercise, and an unhealthy lifestyle in the past.
As I researched this article on men’s health issues, I discovered that there are a number of great websites from which to obtain comprehensive information about all aspects of men’s health.
These websites use qualified medical professionals and medical research to source their information (links to the websites I use, either in my research or personally, are provided in the references section at the end of this article).
In light of this, I decided that in this section of the “design your new life system” the most valuable thing I could do for you would be to consolidate relevant new information that I find on any of the websites and health news updates I look at regularly to:
1. Keep you up-to-date with the latest developments in our understanding or treatment of the conditions that are either specific to men, or to which men are at higher risk, and
2. provide ongoing updates on other issues that have a particular impact on men’s health and well being e.g. smoking, excessive alcohol use, stress.
This approach is consistent with my objective to provide you with a “one-stop-shop” for everything you need to know to design and maintain you long, happy, healthy and wealthy life.
Why Don’t Most Men like to Visit Their Doctors
One of the fundamental problems exacerbating men’s health issues is that most men don’t like visiting their doctor or having tests done unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Here are some of the numerous behaviours, reasons or excuses I came upon in my research that support the above statement:
– Men don’t tend to be as tuned-in to their bodies as women; so they don’t notice small telltale signs that things might be amiss.
– The truth is, many men go to the doctor only when they feel sick or have a medical emergency — and that’s not nearly as often as they should.
– I’m perfectly healthy, why should I get a check-up?
– Thinking things will just get better with time or home remedies, is another common excuse.
– Many men have the attitude that what they don’t know can’t hurt them.
– Going to the Doctor is giving in to your nagging wife.
– If men have, or suspect they may have, a sexually transmitted disease (STD) they will make excuses to shy away from medical scrutiny.
– Men aren’t used to being probed and examined like women are (used in reference to a prostate examination and colonoscopy).
– Another possible justification is fear – men don’t want to hear what they might be told, either finding out that something is wrong or showing vulnerability.
– Some say that stereotypes about what’s “manly” have created a myth that going to the doctor or getting sick is a sign of weakness.
– Experts believe there are also more culturally significant explanations for men’s reluctance to seek medical treatment.
– Men think their doctor will pick them up for their bad habits
Unfortunately, skipping routine health checks and delaying visits to your doctor can be a matter of life and death. So I will also be trying to increase my subscriber’s awareness of the risks of not seeking treatment as soon as signs of possible problems arise.
Experts believe the failure of men to visit their doctors on a regular basis could be one reason why women live longer than men, and why men are more likely to contract serious diseases, often with fatal consequence
What are the top mens health issues or concerns in developed countries?
According to Web M.D. The 10 most common causes of death in the USA (n.b. this is typical of most developed countries) are:
- heart disease,
- cancer (all forms)
- kidney disease,
- chronic liver disease, and
Men die at higher rates than women from all of the above.
The “men’s health issues” that have come up most frequently in my research, or are listed by credible websites “most popular discussions”, or have been proven by medical research, fall into 4 main groups:
1. Chronic diseases or conditions that are most common in men, or biologically exclusive to men: prostate cancer, heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia and influenza, diabetes, kidney disease, chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, low testosterone, high cholesterol, high blood pressure.
2. Issues associated with toxic habits: smoking. excessive alcohol, substance abuse,
3. Issues that are mainly lifestyle or ego based: physical inactivity, obesity and overweight, baldness, men’s sex fears,
4. Issues that are socially based: suicide, accidents, snoring, work “burn-out”,
Many of the top 10 causes of death are preventable
Many of the top 10 causes of death are preventable, and can be treated, if found early. WebMD examined the risk factors for five of the biggest killers of men: heart disease, stroke, suicide, prostate cancer, and lung cancer. They asked the experts why men were so vulnerable to these ailments and what they could do to reduce their risk of disease and death. I have briefly summarised their key findings below.
(A link to the source information is included in the resources section at the end of this article).
Although heart disease is the leading killer of both men and women, almost twice as many males die of conditions that affect the cardiovascular system, the MHN reports. According to the CDC, one in four men has some form of heart disease. It is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
The average age of a person having a first heart attack is 65.8 for men and 70.4 for women.
“For men, heart disease begins to manifest itself about 10 years earlier than women,” says Gregory Burke, MD, professor and chairman of the department of public health sciences at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. This does not mean men have a free pass against heart disease until they’re older; on the contrary, men have a shorter time to prevent the development of the condition so their overall risk is greater.”
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), risk factors for heart disease include:
· Increasing age
· Male sex
· Family history and race. People with family history of the disease have greater risk.
· Alcohol and substance abuse
· Physical inactivity
· High blood cholesterol
· High blood pressure
· Physical inactivity
· Obesity and overweight
Clearly, some things, such as your age and sex, cannot be controlled, but modifying your lifestyle to eat more healthily and exercise regularly definitely can. If this is something you might need to do, this article will give you an overview of what that involves:
Stroke is the third highest killer in the U.S.A, after heart disease and all forms of cancer. The incidence rate of stroke is 1.25 times greater in men than in women, although there is really no difference between the sexes as people get older, according to the American Stroke Association.
“We know that a very important risk factor for stroke is hypertension. The control of hypertension is a crucial factor to try to prevent the onset of stroke.”
Other risk factors are basically the same as for heart disease but also include having a personal history of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA, or mini-stroke)
Suicide and Depression
Men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women, reports the MHN, which attributes part of the blame on under-diagnosed depression in men.
Men account for nearly 8-in-10 suicides in the U.S. today, even though women are diagnosed more often with depression and make far more suicide attempts.
William Pollack, PhD, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, agrees: “Men are more prone to suicide because they’re less likely to openly show depression and have somebody else recognize it early enough to treat it, or to have themselves recognize that they’re in trouble.”
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 6 million men (in the U.S.) have depression each year. Pollack believes the number of males with depression could be even greater since men may show signs of depression in a manner different from many women.
Instead of sadness, Pollack says depression may play out in the following ways in men:
· Work “burnout”
· Risk-taking behavior
· Midlife crisis
· Alcohol and substance abuse
“Society around the men and the men themselves see (the male symptoms of depression) as ‘just being a guy,’ or ‘having a hard time,'” says Pollack. “The problem is that if they are signs of depression, and they’re getting bad enough, then many of these men are starting to form thoughts that life isn’t worth living.”
To help men with depression and to reduce the risk of suicide, doctors, loved ones, and men themselves need to recognize that society’s model of masculinity — to ignore pain –can work against men. Looking the other way may trigger depression and thoughts of suicide.
Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of both men and women, claiming more lives than prostate, colon, and breast cancer combined.
The good news is that the rate of new lung cancer cases has been dropping since the 1980’s, and deaths from lung cancer have fallen since the 1990’s.
Besides smoking, the American Cancer Society lists the following as risk factors for lung cancer:
· Exposure to second hand smoke
· Exposure to asbestos or radon
· Personal history
· Air pollution
Tobacco products are responsible for 90% of lung cancer cases, which puts the weight of prevention efforts on smoking cessation.
According to the “National Institute on Aging”, as soon as you stop smoking, your chances of getting cancer from smoking begins to shrink, and you can prevent further damage to your lungs.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in men. It is the second most common cancer cause of death in men, after lung cancer.
There is not enough known about what causes prostate cancer and how to prevent it; yet the disease is treatable if found in its early stages. This can be a challenge, since prostate cancer victims often show no symptoms until it has spread to other parts of the body.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam be offered annually for healthy men starting at age 50 or older. Men who are at high risk — such as those who have a family history of prostate cancer — should begin testing earlier.
Although older age is a risk factor for prostate cancer, younger men should not be complacent. Thirty percent of prostate cancers occur in men under age 65. “The younger a man is, the more aggressive the tumour is,” says ACS President Stephen F. Sener, MD,
Health Checks For Men Over 50
According to Better Health Victoria, men should have regular health checks, saying that: “Even if you don’t believe you have any health issues, see your doctor twice a year for medical checkups to help you stay healthy and to pick up early warning signs of disease or illness. Doctors can detect many diseases in their early stages, including cardiovascular (heart) disease, diabetes and some cancers.
When you have a health check, your doctor will talk to you about your medical history, your family’s history of disease and your lifestyle. Your diet, weight, how much you exercise and whether or not you smoke will also be discussed.
If you have high-risk factors, such as a family history of a disease, your lifestyle or any toxic habits, it may be more likely that you will develop a particular disease. Regular check-ups may help your doctor pick up early warning signs. For example, high blood pressure may be an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease.”
Everybody is different. You may need other regular tests not listed here depending on your personal or family medical history. Your Doctor should be able to provide guidance.
I hope you have found this overview’of men’s health issues helpful. To ensure that I make my ongoing updates as comprehensive and useful as possible, I encourage you to let me know when you find something of interest that I have not covered, by leaving a comment, in the “Have Your Say” box at the end of any of my articles, or by simply sending me an email at “[email protected]” with a brief description of the article or source of the information. Whichever of these two options you choose, if possible include a link to that information source.
I will take a look at the information and if I believe it is significant, include it in my next update, with an acknowledgement to the subscriber who provided the information.
I have just published a new free Special Report “How to Design a Long, Healthy and Wealthy Retirement Life”.If you have not already done so, you can download your personal copy by clicking the link below:
This report explains what you need to know to design your very own long, healthy and wealthy retirement life.
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Resources used for research or cited in this article:
– Web M.D. – Men’s Health – more details on suicide
– Web MD Article Men’s top 5 health concerns
– Cancer US: Downloadable PDF: (Page 4)