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5 Diseases Common to Men and How to Prevent Them

Table of Contents

This article is Medically Approved by Dr. Edward Salko

picture of two guys at the gym

Health problems, in general, do not discriminate based on gender. 

However, certain medical conditions seem to be more prevalent in men than women.

It’s almost an age-old fact, but more evidence has emerged in the recent decades proving men are more prone to some diseases than women. As a result, the mortality rate of men is also higher.

While there is no negative intention on this comparison, it certainly raises concerns about men’s health. This brings us to increasing awareness on several health issues that are common to men.

If these health problems are addressed before they escalate into a severe condition, it will preserve health and wellness among adult men.

So, as June is known as Men’s Health Month, let’s explore the different diseases and conditions that continue to be significant threats to men’s health. More importantly, learn how to prevent them through proven ways.

Let’s get into it.

5 Diseases Affecting Men The Most

Heart Disease

Heart disease is a general term that refers to different cardiovascular conditions such as arrhythmias, atherosclerosis, congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease, and heart failure.

According to the CDC, heart disease is the number one cause of death among American men. 1 in 4 men succumb to fatality due to heart disease.

The gender gap in this condition is often attributed to physiological differences, with some research including differences in lifestyle choices and gender-based activities.

Nonetheless, the statistics suggest that men should be more conscious about their risks to heart disease.

Here are risk factors that can contribute to the development of heart disease:

  •  Age
  • Stress
  • Obesity and being overweight
  •  High cholesterol diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive Alcohol intake
  • Diabetes
  • Low Testosterone

All these risks are also found in women, but they are even more magnified in men. Testosterone level, in particular, was found to play an essential role in identifying susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders.

According to John Hopkins Medicine, changes in sexual activities linked to erectile dysfunction (ED) can be vital indicators of developing heart problems.

Since the first symptom of heart disease is commonly a heart attack, ED becomes a significant sign of the condition.  

But aside from ED, here are other signs that you should watch for to detect emerging heart disease.

  • Trouble catching your breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Frequent dizziness
  • Extreme fatigue

Cancer

Cancer may take different forms depending on the target organ of the disease. But they share a common mechanism as all types of cancer are due to cells that grow uncontrollably. In addition, it is associated with a genetic mutation caused by various factors.

The severity of this disease is characterized by the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body.

Much like heart disease, men have a higher mortality rate caused by cancer than women. Men’s health can become detrimental once cancer is diagnosed.

The three most common forms of cancer in men are prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer. Other types of cancer include testicular cancer, bladder cancer, and melanoma.

You can be susceptible to cancers with the following risk factors:

  • Age
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Poor diet

Older men are generally prone to cancer development. For example, 60% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer are men above 65 years old.

In the same way, race is also considered a critical factor. For example, African Americans are also more prone to cancer-related deaths than other races in the US.

Different forms of cancer have unique symptoms. But the malignancy of these conditions shares the following warning signs:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Presence of growing lumps in the body
  • Digestive irregularities
  • Skin changes
  • Unusual bruising
  • Persistent cough and pain

Among all the symptoms, the presence of a lump in your body that seems to grow unstoppably is a common indicator that you should get tested for cancer.

Chronic Respiratory Diseases

Chronic respiratory diseases (CRD) refer to health issues involving the lungs, trachea, and other respiratory system parts. The collective condition encompasses asthma, lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic pneumonia, and cystic fibrosis.

In the report of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, over 1 million deaths in the US were associated with lung disease in 2010.

Two of the triggers for CRD prevalent to men are tobacco use and exposure to indoor smoke from solid fuels.

On the other hand, here are some other risk factors that increase the chances of developing CRD.

  • Smoking
  • Allergens
  • Family history
  • Age
  • Poor diet
  • Exposure to indoor and outdoor pollution
  • Physical inactivity

Like cancer symptoms, individual diseases under CRD have several symptoms narrowed down to the specific condition. 

However, some of the early warning signs are common to respiratory problems like the following:

  • Persistent cough
  • Wheezing
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Coughing blood
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Incessant production of mucus or phlegm

Stroke

Stroke is a condition wherein the blood flow to the brain is disrupted by either a blockage or a rupture in the blood vessels. Aside from being a leading cause of death in men, stroke is also responsible for long-term disability to those who have survived the condition.

A person suffering from a stroke requires an immediate medical response as the lack of oxygen supply in the brain can lead to death in no time.

If you’re wondering whether you have the likelihood to develop stroke, check out the following risk factors:

  • Hypertension
  • Tobacco use
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Physical inactivity

Among the different risk factors, hypertension is considered the major one. Hypertension is a common condition among men where high blood pressure exceeds the normal range.

Almost 47% of men in the US have hypertension or are taking medications to lower their blood pressure levels.

The fatality of stroke is due to the fact that it is a sudden attack. Therefore, the earlier a person is treated for stroke; the less brain damage can be sustained.

You will know if a person is suffering from stroke by observing the following conditions:

  • Severe headache
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty understanding when people talk
  • Numbness in the face
  • Eye problems
  • Trouble walking 

Diabetes

Aside from obesity, diabetes is another disorder often associated with an unbalanced diet.

Diabetes, specifically type 2 diabetes, is a condition wherein the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin or the body cannot process the hormone. As a result, blood sugar levels are high, and the essential functions of the tissues are disrupted.

Diabetes is a common risk factor for other chronic diseases. It can cause erectile dysfunction among men. In the same way, men with ED are also prone to developing diabetes.

Based on a systematic review and meta-analysis of 145 studies, about 50% of men diagnosed with diabetes also have ED.

On the other hand, here are other risk factors for diabetes:

  • Age
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Family history
  • Being overweight
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol level
  • Physical inactivity

Type 2 diabetes can be diagnosed starting with the detection of abnormal glucose levels in the blood. Lab tests such as the Hemoglobin A1c Blood Test can be performed. Nonetheless, a person suspecting diabetes may experience these symptoms:

  • Frequent urination especially at night
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling thirsty or hungry all the time
  • Blurry vision
  • Tingling in extremities
  • Dry skin
  • Wounds/sores that take a long time to heal

Another vital thing to understand about these symptoms is that they develop slowly over the years. Hence, checking the risk factors and undergoing regular testing can help you prevent the complete development of the disease.

Surefire Ways to Improve Men’s Health

two men talking at gym with green smoothies

If you pay closer to the risk factors of the five common diseases among men, it is easy to spot that some of the factors can be controlled by your choices. So, if you take the proper action, you can increase your chances of preventing these conditions.

Consider the following steps, which are proven to help preserve men’s health and extend longevity.

  1. Watch What You Eat
healthy meal

As you grow old, it’s time to reduce, if not eliminate, foods that are high in sugars and cholesterol. 

The physiology of your body changes with time. Hence, you may be able to tolerate certain foods when you’re younger but not at your current age. 

Also, regardless of age, providing your body with proper nutrients is key to maintaining the valuable functions of your organ. 

Many people who have ignored a carefully screened dietary choice suffered from these chronic diseases.

  1. Get Enough Sleep
man sleeping

Your body needs time for repair, growth, and recovery. 

Denying the right amount of sleep can cause an imbalance in your hormones and other chemicals. 

The recommended sleep for adults is 7 to 9 hours. Sleeping less than this range can stain your health.

  1. Embrace An Active Lifestyle
men exercising at the gym

Among all the risk factors of diseases common to men, physical inactivity is a constant. 

The prevalence of the sedentary lifestyle nowadays causescaused a massive problem to a significant portion of the population. 

The more you ignore the importance of exercise, the more likely you’ll develop a disorder linked to high cholesterol. 

Take time to burn some fats and engage in cardiovascular activities. Doing it gradually can effectively improve your health.

  1. Get Tested Regularly
man talking with doctor

When you get tested regularly, you have a higher chance of detecting the disease before it aggravates. 

Unfortunately, people often neglect the need for regular blood works and checkups to assume that they are in good health. 

However, some conditions do not show symptoms on the surface. ThereforeThereby, if men’s health improves, a clear understanding of the importance of regular testing is necessary. 

Set an appointment with a doctor either via telehealth or in-person. If it is trouble for you to go to the laboratory for blood testing, consider ordering the blood test online.

  1. Let Go of Unhealthy Habits
two happy men drinking beer

Bad habits such as drinking too much alcohol and heavy smoking will only shorten your lifespan. 

However, if you recognize their adverse effect on your health and the wellness of people around you, try to withdraw from your habits gradually. 

In no time, you will completely abandon these detrimental habits and reap the benefits of healthy choices. 

Nonetheless, make sure to seek the guidance of a medical professional, as withdrawal can be a tricky process.

In a Nutshell

Protecting men’s health is essential not just for those diagnosed with a specific disease but also for everyone who values their health.

 If you’re a man or know men struggling with their health, consider taking actions one step at a time. For example, learning about the common diseases among men can be your first step.Then, consider taking the Healthy Male Checkup Blood Test to know more about your health status. You can take the assurance that you will have the proper guidance in the process.

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