Men’s health: Major health risks for men

by | Jun 9, 2022 | Uncategorized

June is National Men’s Health Month. It’s all about encouraging guys to make healthy decisions in their lives and know the signs of the serious health risks that they face.

One of the reasons this is so important is because, while it’s stereotypical, men don’t always put their health first. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women are 33 percent more likely to visit the doctor than men. Moreover, women are 100 percent better at keeping a regular schedule for screenings and preventative care. 

So what are some of the major health risk factors men face? Let’s take a look. 

Cardiovascular diseases

Cardiovascular diseases can refer to a number of conditions, according to the American Heart Association. These include heart disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, arrhythmia, heart valve complications, and more.

Symptoms of cardiovascular diseases are wide and varying depending on the cause, but among the most common are:

  • Pounding or racing heart (palpitations)
  • Chest pain and/or upper body pain
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Lower extremity swelling
  • Exhaustion

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention. Even subtle symptoms can be a sign of a serious heart condition. 

Prostate cancer 

Prostate cancer is one of the more common types of cancer, and according to the American Cancer Society (ACS) it’s the second leading cause of cancer death among American men. In fact, one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.

Prostate cancer may or may not have any symptoms early stages, which is one of the reasons it is so hard to detect early. More advanced prostate cancer symptoms include:

  • Trouble urinating
  • Decreased force in the stream of urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Blood in the semen
  • Bone pain
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Erectile dysfunction

It’s important to make an appointment with your doctor if you have any of these persistent signs or symptoms.

Depression and suicide

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that annually a minimum of 6 million men suffer from depression, including thoughts of suicide. NIMH also suggests men are “less likely than women to recognize, talk about, and seek treatment for depression.”

Like with anyone, the signs and symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts vary greatly. However, the most common symptoms are:

  • Anger and/or iritability 
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Loss of interest in work, family, or once-pleasurable activities
  • Sexual problems
  • Consistent sadness and/or hopelessness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Extreme tiredness or insomnia
  • Overeating or not wanting to eat at all
  • Physical health problems (pains, headaches, cramps, etc.)
  • Irresponsibility
  • High-risk behavior
  • Excessive alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawal from family and friends

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, seek help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline, like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Lung cancer

Smoking is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer. And while smoking rates in the US are falling, lung cancer is still the most common cancer death in men.

The ACS says that “most lung cancers do not cause any symptoms until they have spread, but some people with early lung cancer do have symptoms.” The most common lung cancer symptoms are:

  • Persistent cough
  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored phlegm
  • Chest pain exacerbates by laughing or coughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Appetite loss
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Recurring bronchitis or pneumonia
  • New onset of wheezing

Some lung cancers can cause syndromes like Horner’s syndrome, superior vena cava syndrome, and various paraneoplastic syndromes. It’s important to note that the ACS says these symptoms are “likely caused by something other than lung cancer.”

But if you have any of these symptoms, particularly if they are recurring or frequent, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.

Type 2 Diabetes

The rate of type 2 diabetes continues to climb in the United States, and, according to WebMD, one of the “biggest jumps” is among men.

A report from the CDC shows that diabetes affects 14 percent of adult men in the US – that’s over 14 million men in total. 

The signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Frequent urination
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness or tingling in extremities
  • Frequent skin or urinary tract infections

Diabetes can be prevented with weight loss, regular exercise, and healthy eating habits. 

Facing potential health problems is always scary – but ignoring them can lead to very serious illnesses, diseases, or even death.

At Downriver Clinics, we understand how important feeling safe and comfortable are in your medical care. And while we can’t test or treat everything, we proudly offer many lab tests and physicals in a relaxed and caring environment. We also treat many illnesses and can help you better understand any symptoms you might be experiencing. We also accept most insurance plans and work with uninsured patients to provide affordable care.

Downriver Clinics are privately-owned and operated walk-in urgent care clinics with years of experience serving Trenton and Grosse Ile, Michigan. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality and most cost-effective medical care in the Downriver community.