The Men in Your Life: Their Biggest Health Issues
While most men would grudgingly admit that annual checkups and screening tests are the smart thing to do, they often seem to go out of their way to avoid the doctor’s office. But if your favorite men treated their bodies as well as they would a prized sports car—taking them in for routine maintenance, calling in a pro at the slightest sign of trouble—they’d be much more likely to live longer and run smoother.
When’s the last time the important men in your life had a check-up? Are they up-to-date on their health screenings? To make an appointment for you or a loved one, call Transitions Health to see Dr. Rainbolt or Nurse Practitioners Cindy Argo and Donna Coley at 731-641-2707.
At the top of the list for men’s health screenings are prostate issues. Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men; health experts estimate that one in eight men will experience it, and one in 41 will die from it. And while lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among men–mostly from cigarette smoking—prostate cancer is growing more quickly due to unhealthy eating habits, higher obesity rates, and lack of daily physical activity for many men.
The American Cancer Society recommends that doctors offer prostate screening annually beginning at age 50 for men in good health with no major medical problems, and that annual testing begin at age 45 for those with extra risk factors.
High Risk Factors
Although every man faces the possibility of developing prostate cancer one day, according to the American Cancer Society, the risk is higher for those who are:
- African American
- Older than 50
- Closely related (brother, son or father) to someone who had prostate cancer before age 65
The ABCs of ED
Even though it gets a good laugh as the subject of “Saturday Night Live” skits, erectile dysfunction (ED) is a problem that most men don’t want to admit to. It’s not just an issue of male vanity: ED is often a warning sign of more serious health problems.
ED can be due to low testosterone, high blood pressure, diabetes and stress–but many men keep it a secret. They may ignore it for years, and it can disrupt their relationships, affect their self-image and lead to depression. The problem is that by ignoring the symptoms, they may be ignoring the underlying cause.
Kentucky Lake Urologic Associates can help determine the cause and provide treatment for ED. To make an appointment, call 731-642-8884.
The heart of the matter for many men is cardiac disease, especially for those 55 and older. Stress, such as that caused by the current economic crunch, can play a big role in heart disease, as well as smoking (including secondhand smoke), a high-fat diet, obesity and excessive alcohol consumption.
A man’s risk is determined by several factors, including family history of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and stroke. That’s why it’s important to know one’s risk factors for heart disease early in life, as knowledge is the key to intervention and management.
5 Ways a Man Can Prevent Health Problems
- Stop smoking. Cigarettes increase the risk of not only heart disease but also lung, pancreatic and bladder cancer.
- See a physician regularly.
- Get regular screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, prostate cancer and coronary artery disease, especially if there’s a family history of these diseases.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Exercise regularly.
Did you know that 6 million U.S. males are affected by depression each year, and suicide is their 8th leading cause of death? Unfortunately, men are far less likely than women to seek help not only for all mental-health problems, but depression in particular. Risk factors for suicide include social isolation, substance abuse, unemployment, military-related trauma and genetic disposition.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free, confidential support for you and your loved ones. Their toll-free number is 800-273-8255.
If you or the man in your life needs help managing stress or dealing with depression, you’re certainly not alone. The caring team at Paris Behavioral Health Clinic can help. To make an appointment call
The Art of Knowing Your Man: What Women Need to Know About Men’s Health
It’s no old wives’ tale: Women really do tend to be the healthcare gatekeepers for the men in their lives.
A study from the University of Chicago, for example, found that older married men were 20 percent more likely to have gotten a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer in the past five years, compared with men who were single. The researchers concluded that women’s health decisions influence their partners, especially if a man views his spouse as supportive.
In other words, nagging—in a nice way—can be healthy.
Try some of these conversation starters the next time there’s a lull in your daily chitchat.
“When is the last time you had a checkup?”
Once men hit age 18 and stop having yearly checkups at the pediatrician, many don’t see a doctor again until their 50s. That’s when prostate problems may start to become an issue, or when they are more likely to have a health crisis, such as a heart attack. This is a big missed opportunity for preventive care.
Even if your man feels fine, he should see his healthcare practitioner regularly. Checkups can catch problems he’s having even before symptoms show up, such as diabetes or pre-diabetes (when blood sugar is high but not high enough to be diabetes).
“Let’s check out your risk for heart attack.”
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the United States, and 1 of every 4 deaths is heart disease related. To help your favorite man reduce his risk, suggest that he calculate his 10-year risk of heart disease or stroke with the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Heart Risk Calculator at http://www.cvriskcalculator.com. He can plug in his total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and blood pressure numbers among other data, such as his weight.
“Maybe you should see a urologist.”
Like gynecologists for women, urologists are part of a man’s comprehensive strategy for health maintenance and prevention. Urologists treat everything from urinary tract infections and male factor infertility to erectile dysfunction and hormonal imbalances, as well as prostate cancer.
If the man in question is older than 50, urge him to see a urologist to get his prostate checked, particularly if he’s at increased risk for prostate cancer, which will affect about 1 in 8 U.S. men during their lifetimes.
Know His Numbers
Here’s a checkup checklist to make sure he—and you—get the information that will help both of you monitor his health status.
* Blood cholesterol. To get accurate blood cholesterol results—LDL (“bad” cholesterol), HDL (“good” cholesterol), triglycerides and total cholesterol—he will need to fast, typically for nine to 12 hours before the cholesterol test. That means no eating and drinking, other than water, after midnight for a morning test. The target numbers to aim for are under 200 for total cholesterol, under 100 for LDL, over 60 for HDL, and under 150 for triglycerides.
* Blood pressure: 120/80 is considered normal.
* Fasting blood glucose: This measures your blood sugar after an overnight fast (not eating). A fasting blood sugar level of 99 mg/dL or lower is normal, 100 to 125 mg/dL indicates you have prediabetes, and 126 mg/dL or higher indicates you have diabetes.
* Waist circumference. For men, smaller than 40 inches is optimal.
* Body mass index (BMI): 18.5 to 24.9 is ideal.