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Men's Health Overview

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Men’s health involves a variety of gender-specific issues, like testosterone production, sexual health and increased likelihood of engaging in risky behavior. Many men avoid doctors and hospitals but suffer from preventable diseases and conditions. Unfortunately, there are also a number of supplements targeted toward men that may do more harm than good. Men can take control of their health by eating a healthy diet, making simple lifestyle adjustments and visiting the doctor regularly.

Facts About Men's Health

Many men do not make their health a high priority in their lives. The ailments that cause the most deaths and illnesses in men are either preventable or treatable. Unfortunately, men are usually less willing than women to visit doctors for checkups or preventative care, to seek treatment during the early stages of an ailment or to seek mental health advice. Men are also more likely to engage in risky behavior like drinking alcohol in excess, smoking tobacco and driving dangerously. Luckily, there are many easy steps that men can take to improve their health.

Quick Facts About Men's Health:

  • Major risks to men’s health include heart disease, cancer, depression and the tendency to engage in risky behavior.

  • Men are less likely than women to visit the doctor, resulting in more hospitalizations and deaths from preventable conditions.

  • Harmful substances and the natural aging process are the top detriments to men’s sexual health.

  • Regular checkups and health screenings can result in longer, healthier lives in most men.

  • Living a healthy lifestyle can prevent and treat most problems associated with men’s health.

How Men Age

From infancy to old age, men’s bodies go through diverse changes. It’s important for men to be aware of the changes taking place in their bodies. Older men may require different things than younger men in order to maintain their health.

During adolescence, increasing testosterone levels often lead boys to develop an interest in sex and pursue more risky behaviors. Societal expectations may cause them to suppress emotions and develop a fear of communicating about changes in their lives.

Some believe this may be why men are more likely than women to suffer unintentional harm or to die from homicide or suicide. Men are also more likely to die in an alcohol-related car accident.

Men's Health Risks over Time

Through their 20s and 30s, when men are in their physical prime, they mature and begin to stop engaging in risky behaviors. Still, men are more likely than women to abuse alcohol, smoke and die of accidental deaths.

During their 40s and 50s, men’s bodies produce testosterone at declining rates. They begin to lose muscle mass and become more prone to weight gain. Their risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes increases. On average, men develop heart disease about 10 years earlier than women, and 1 in 4 male deaths is caused by heart disease.

Men’s bodies never completely stop producing testosterone, but testosterone production may decrease with age. When men reach their 60s and 70s, they may begin to experience hair loss and enlarging prostates. In older age, men often become less active and need fewer calories. However, their bodies can’t absorb nutrients at the same rate so they must pay close attention to what they eat.

Checkups and Screenings

Historically, men avoid seeking healthcare until they have to. About 38 percent of men admit to only going to the doctor when they are extremely sick or when symptoms don’t go away on their own. In a survey from the American Academy of Family Physicians, 55 percent of men admitted that they had not seen a doctor for a physical exam within the previous year, although 40 percent of them had one or more chronic health conditions.

Unfortunately, doctors could prevent and treat many of the common health conditions in men with early diagnoses. If caught early, doctors can more effectively treat major conditions like heart disease and colon cancer.

Interestingly, men who are married are more likely to visit the doctor and seek preventative services than cohabitating men or other non-married men. Visiting the doctor regularly can help men catch potentially deadly diseases or conditions early.

Basic Screenings Recommended for Men Include:

  • Colon CancerBegin screening for colon cancer at the age of 50. Men with a family history of colon cancer should begin screening sooner.

  • DepressionMen should talk to a doctor or therapist if they feel little pleasure doing things or if they experience prolonged sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, or excessive anger.

  • DiabetesMen should begin screening for diabetes if they have high blood pressure. All men should begin regular screening for diabetes around the age of 45, but screening may begin earlier in men who are overweight or have other risk factors for diabetes.

  • High Blood PressureBlood pressure should be screened at least every 2 years in men with normal blood pressure. Men with high blood pressure or risk factors for heart disease or stroke should be screened at least once per year.

  • High CholesterolMen who are 35 or older should have their cholesterol checked regularly. Men who have risk factors for heart disease should begin screening sooner.

  • HIVMen who are 65 or younger should be screened. Men older than 65 should talk to their doctor about being screened.

  • Lung CancerMen between the ages of 55 and 80 years old should begin screening for lung cancer if they have a significant history of smoking tobacco.

Health Tips

The good news for men is that eating well, living a healthy lifestyle, and exercising regularly can prevent and treat almost all of their major health problems. Men can also talk to their doctors about taking nutritional supplements and receiving immunizations to help ensure long-lasting health.

Even if men exercise, eat well and maintain a healthy lifestyle, they may still get sick. Men should always consult their doctors to make sure the benefits of any treatment outweigh the risks.

***Sonder Pharmacy would like to credit this article and information to read it for more information on this article.

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