Navigating your health can be challenging, especially when your body changes through the years. As a man, there are several health conditions that may be more likely to affect you. Some of these may be more well-known, and others could come as a surprise. In all cases, it’s critical to keep a close eye on your own status, so that an early diagnosis can be made if necessary.
Preventing Prostate Cancer
One in eight American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, and it is one of the most common forms of cancer. This type of cancer will often grow slowly, so it can be easily treated if found early, but sometimes the cancer will be more aggressive and spread to other parts of the body.
Because there are no signs or symptoms in the early stages, it is important for men to be checked regularly for prostate cancer. There is a greater risk for older men, Black men, obese men, or men with a family history of prostate cancer. If left unchecked, prostate cancer can result in serious complications such as erectile dysfunction, incontinence, the spread of cancer, or death. The American Cancer Society offers additional insights and resources for those curious about prostate cancer.
Mental Health for Men and Boys
There has long been a stigma surrounding mental health that implies it’s primarily a women’s issue. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, men are diagnosed with different mental illnesses at similar or even greater rates than their female counterparts. Over 6 million men suffer from depression — and there are likely many more because depression in males is under-reported. Men also represent a portion of diagnoses for anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, substance abuse, and other conditions.
One especially startling statistic is the disparity in suicide rates between men and women. More than four times as many men die by suicide than women in the U.S. Despite this fact, men are also significantly less likely to seek professional help. In recognition of Men’s Mental Health Month this June, Mental Health America put together an infographic covering some of these important issues. If you are having suicidal thoughts or ideations, call 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or find additional resources at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.
How to Have a Healthier Heart
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American men. This umbrella term is used to refer to a wide range of conditions, including heart attacks, coronary artery disease, and more. Together, these conditions contribute to one in four male deaths in the U.S.
Heart disease is known as a “silent killer” because, in over half of the deadly cases, men had no previous symptoms. It is also more prevalent in Black men, Hispanic men, and Asian men, plus American Indians and Alaska Natives. Risk factors for heart disease include diabetes, obesity, and poor diet and exercise habits. Making healthy lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk for heart disease. Be sure to check with your doctor for personalized recommendations and get more information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Skin Cancer Shows Up More in Men
Did you know that men are more likely to die from melanoma at any age? From adolescence on, white males are nearly double as likely to develop skin cancer as their white female counterparts. This only rises as time goes on, eventually hitting triple as likely by the age of 80. This may be because, according to recent studies, men have less knowledge about skin care and protecting it from the sun. Women are also known to apply more sunscreen than men. But researchers also believe there is a fundamental difference in men’s skin. Generally, male skin is thicker and has less fat and more collagen and elastin, all which could be contributing to a greater likelihood to be damaged by UV rays.
Considering the greater risk, men should be even more proactive about protecting their skin. This includes applying sunscreen regularly and getting checked for melanoma because skin cancer can be treated more easily when caught early. Check out resources from the American Academy of Dermatology Association for more information on the topic.
For Southern Maryland men, a great way to start improving your health is with a primary care provider. Even one yearly checkup can put you on the right track and help catch any issues quickly. It’s also a great place to ask any questions and get personalized recommendations. Our team of experts at UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Primary Care is here for you and can connect you to a wide network of specialized services to keep you happy and healthy.