“It’s a guy thing.” “Real men don’t cry.” “A guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do.” How many times have we heard comments such as these? In contemporary society, it seems as if the John Wayne, macho image is what men are supposed to live up to. But is that really what it is to be a man? Not really. One’s idea of what it takes to be a man is largely based upon his background, abilities, training, preferences and ideals. It seems that an individual spends his youth developing physically, mentally and emotionally, then spends his latter years often trying to regain those things lost through aging, like strength; vitality; and, yes, even hair.
The leading diseases of men include those associated with the cardiovascular system and cancer. Men have legitimate health-care and medical needs, even though some are hesitant to seek care. In terms of prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease, pharmacists play as important a role in men’s health as we do in women’s health. As pharmacists, we can encourage men to seek health care on a regular annual basis (annual medical checkups with lab tests) and to take care of their bodies by regular exercise and proper nutrition. The latter may include nutritional supplements.
From infancy to old age, women are simplyhealthier than men. Out of the 15 leading causes of death, men lead women in all of them except Alzheimer’s disease, which many men don’t live long enough to develop. Although the gender gap is closing, men still die five years earlier than their wives, on average. While the reasons are partly biological, men’s approach to their health plays a role too. Men go to the doctor less than women and are more likely to have a serious condition when they do go.
The Top 9 Men’s Health Issues
1. Cardiovascular Disease – Heart disease and stroke are the first and second leading causes of death worldwide, in both men and women. One in five men will die from cardiovascular disease. A large number of cardiovascular diseases are preventable.
It is important to:
– get your cholesterol checked, beginning at age 25 and every five years.
– control your blood pressure and cholesterol, if they’re high.
– quit smoking
– increase your physical activity level to 30 minutes per day, most days of the week.
– eat more fruits and vegetables and less saturated or trans fats.
2. Andropause – testosterone deficiency. This occurs as a result of age related decreasing levels of free testosterone and/or increasing of oestrogen levels. Symptoms of andropause include; decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory problems, decreased energy and strength, increase in body fat, loss of muscle mass, prostate enlargement, osteoporosis, depression, inability to concentrate, reduced mental agility and loss of enthusiasm. Lower testosterone levels also places men at increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
3. Erectile Dysfunction – this may not be life threatening, but it’s still signals an important health problem. Two-thirds of men older than 70 and up to 39% of 40-year-old men have problems with erectile dysfunction. Men with ED report less enjoyment in life and are more likely to be depressed. Erectile dysfunction is most often caused by atherosclerosis — the same process that causes heart attacks and strokes. In fact, having ED frequently means that blood vessels throughout the body are in less-than-perfect health. Doctors consider erectile dysfunction an early warning sign for cardiovascular disease.
4. Hair Loss – Male pattern baldness accounts for more than 95% of hair loss in men. By the age of thirty-five two-thirds of men will experience some degree of hair loss, and by the age of fifty approximately 85% of men have significantly thinning hair.
5. Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH) – Benign enlargement of the prostate affects men over the age of 60. Those afflicted with BPH have trouble urinating and voiding and are overly sensitive to any residual urine left in the bladder resulting in a feeling that they have not completely urinated. men with BPH are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
6. Prostate Cancer – the prostate is a walnut-sized gland behind the penis that secretes fluids important for ejaculation, the prostate is prone to problems as men age. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men other than skin cancer.
7. Depression – this isn’t just a bad mood, a rough patch, or the blues. It’s an emotional disturbance that affects your whole body and overall health. The results can be tragic. Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death among all men; for young men it’s higher.
8. Diabetes – diabetes usually begins silently, without symptoms. Over years, blood sugar levels creep higher, eventually spilling into the urine. The resulting frequent urination and thirst are what finally bring many men to the doctor. Excess glucose attacks the blood vessels and nerves everywhere in the body. The end result being heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure, and amputations. Exercise, combined with a healthy diet, can prevent type 2 diabetes. Moderate weight loss and 30 minutes a day of physical activity reduced the chance of diabetes by more than 50% in men at high risk.
9. Lung Cancer – lung cancer spreads early, usually before it grows large enough to cause symptoms or even show up on an X-ray. By the time it’s found, lung cancer is often advanced and difficult to cure. Less than half of men are alive a year later. Tobacco smoke causes 90% of all lung cancers. Quitting smoking at any age reduces the risk for lung cancer. New tools are available that work to help men quit. In effect, depression proves the mind-body connection. Brain chemicals and stress hormones are out of balance. Sleep, appetite, and energy level are disturbed. Research even suggests men with depression are more likely to develop heart disease.
Our compounding pharmacists offer advise and, if preferred, private consolations to help men understand their own health needs.