June is Men’s Health Month—a time for raising awareness about health conditions and older men’s health issues.
Men often let their health fall by the wayside, even as they grow older. As long as they feel healthy and productive, most men don’t consider the risks behind serious men’s health issues.
But just like you’d take the car to get it tuned up, regular checkups are essential for maintaining good health. There are several common men’s health issues over 50 to be concerned about.
The first step toward better health? Regular checkups with a doctor.
At Senior LIFE, we realize that older men have unique medical needs. We work to meet those specific needs through personalized care plans for each member.
Let’s take a look at some common issues that aging men face.
Men’s Health Issues: Cardiovascular Disease
According to the American College of Cardiology, by 2035, over 130 million adults in the US population (45.1 percent) are projected to have some form of CVD. About one out of every three adult males have some form of cardiovascular disease, making this one of the most serious men’s health issues.
Factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease are not limited to, but include:
- Lack of physical activity
- High cholesterol or high blood pressure
- Excess weight
- Poor diet
- Excessive alcohol use
- Excessive stress
As men begin dealing with other older men’s health issues, they must watch these risk factors closely and make the necessary adjustments to their habits and lifestyle in order to minimize risk and stay healthy.
Your physician can suggest ways to reduce your risk, but these will include stopping smoking, eating well, getting plenty of exercise, and reducing your alcohol intake.
Men’s Health Issues: Prostate Cancer
The prostate gland is a walnut-sized organ behind the penis that produces fluids that are important for ejaculation.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, only behind skin cancer. While it is among the most serious of men’s health issues, many prostate cancers grow slowly and are not prone to spread. Approximately 165,000 men will develop prostate cancer in the U.S. in 2018, but only one in 41 will die from it.
Prostate cancer may cause no signs or symptoms in its early stages, but in its more advanced stages, it may cause symptoms like:
- Blood in semen
- Bone pain
- Decreased force in the stream of urine
- Discomfort in the pelvic area
- Erectile dysfunction
- Trouble urinating
Early detection is a key factor for diagnosing and defeating prostate cancer. Screening for prostate cancer can include a rectal exam and a blood test for prostate specific antigen (PSA). Men over 40 should talk with their doctor to see if screening is recommended for them based on their individual health needs.
Men’s Health Issues: Other Prostate Problems
Common older men’s health issues develop within the prostate gland. You should see a doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms, as they signal a problem with your prostate:
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Need to get up many times during the night to urinate
- Blood in urine or semen
- Pain or burning urination
- Painful ejaculation
- Frequent pain or stiffness in lower back, hips, pelvic or rectal area
- Dribbling of urine
These are generally symptoms of an enlarged prostate. When the gland becomes enlarged, it squeezes the tube that carries urine and causes discomfort. Men over 50 are generally more at risk of developing an enlarged prostate.
Men’s Health Issues: Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer among both men and women. Every year, more people die of lung cancer than of three other major cancers combined.
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2018, 121,680 men will be diagnosed with lung cancer.
Lung cancer mainly occurs in the elderly. Most with the condition are 65 or older, while a very small number of people diagnosed are under 45. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 70.
Lung cancer is known to spread quickly and is usually rather far along before it is diagnosed, which is why it’s so deadly.
Tobacco smoke is the cause of 90 percent of all lung cancers—and the single most preventable cause of death overall. Quitting smoking at any age reduces your risk for lung cancer. Talk with your doctor about tools for smoking cessation.
Men’s Health Issues: Depression and Suicide
Depression is often misunderstood, especially among men. This is because most men find it difficult to share how they feel and ask for help. Depression is among the most serious men’s health issues.
With depression, hormones and stress multiply the negative effects. Appetite, sleep, and energy are all affected. All this combines to produce feelings of hopelessness, fear, even anger, especially in men. Women were previously thought to experience depression more than men, but this was probably due to men’s reluctance to seek help.
While women may demonstrate sadness and cry, men display anger and aggressive behavior. They often seek to cope in other ways, and many times these are unhealthy, like drinking. The tragic results can even be suicide.
Studies show that women attempt suicide more often overall, but men are more successful. Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death among men, and not just the young.
If you think you may be depressed, reach out to your doctor. Help is available.
Men’s Health Issues: Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is sometimes called the silent killer. It begins slowly, without obvious symptoms, as your blood sugar levels slowly climb to dangerous levels.
Increased thirst and a need to urinate more frequently is what usually brings men to see a doctor—and when diabetes is detected.
With diabetes, excessive amounts of glucose negatively impact practically everything in your body. Many health conditions among men are all complicated by diabetes.
In order to prevent diabetes, men should get regular exercise, maintain a healthy diet, and lose excess weight. Regular blood sugar checks can detect rising glucose levels early, before other serious men’s health issues occur.
Senior LIFE provides medically necessary support services that are designed to keep you at home longer. If you have questions about how Senior LIFE can help with men’s health issues, contact your local Senior LIFE Center.
Categories: Wellness Matters