We’re so busy with work and all the other things we need to do, we tend to brush off matters about health until we actually experience some symptoms. Here are the five important things men to have checked as they get older
Heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men in the United States, including African Americans, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Hispanics, whites and the second to cancer among Asian men. Half of the men who die of coronary heart diseases do not experience any symptoms at all, so make sure that you, your father, or anyone you know know be assessed of their heart’s conditions. Men within the age range of 35 and above are at high risk, although it can affect younger men. Lifestyle choices also increase your risk for contracting heart diseases, such as smoking, drinking, obesity, poor diet, and sedentary lifetsyle. Other conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes are also major factors.
Just be honest with your doctor so he can make the necessary assessments and have the correct laboratory tests done. Chronic smokers will probably be given a pulmonary function test and heavy drinkers will be screened for liver conditions like hepatitis and fatty liver.
Hormones. Studies have shown that middle-aged men begin experiencing depression, abdominal weight gain, prostate and heart disease because of the hormone imbalance that is happening in their bodies. Their level of testosterone decline, while estrogen level either remain the same or increase. With decreased testosterone, they easily get tired and they may have low self-drive. Some doctors easily prescribe drugs to treat depression, elevated cholesterol, angina and other diseases that may be caused by underlying hormonal imbalance. This only addresses the symptoms and not the cause.
Hormonal imbalance can be managed by drugs and nutrients therapies so ask your doctor if you can have your hormone levels checked.
Prostate. By their 40’s, men’s prostates need regular examination. The prostate is the walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and the penis, just in front of the rectum. It secretes fluid that nourishes and protects the sperms. There are no prostate self-exams, so a consultation with a doctor is necessary. The prostate can get inflamed (Prostatitis) but is treatable with antibiotics. Frequent and intermittent urination, and the need to strain while urinating may indicate conditions like Benign Hyperpalsia or enlarged prostate. This can be treated by prescribed drugs and surgery.
The most common form of cancer among men, prostate cancer can be treated by surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy. Prostate cancer is mostly a very slow progressing disease and only one in 35 men die from it.
Cancer and other prostate disorders can be detected early with a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test.
Weight. Obesity ,a bodily condition where the body weight is much grater than what is healthy, is now an epidemic and if present in an overweight adult male, may contribute to developing type-2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol, some cancers, osteoarthritis and respiratory problems, along with many other more minor problems. Aging men, whose testosterone level is declining, is prone to abdominal weight gain but can also gain weight in other parts of the body.
The most common signs of obesity are; disproportion body parts and features (excess fats in cheeks,and chin); male breast enlargement because fat cells can accumulate around the breast region specially in boys; stretch marks, expanded arms and thighs; male genitals tending to look smaller in proportion to the rest of the body; and increased anxiety, stress and difficulties in accomplishing ordinary, everyday tasks.
His snoring. Snoring is not bothersome, but when left undetected may be a symptom of a more serious condition like sleep apnea. Older men are more prone to sleep apnea because of lower testosterone.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is caused by obstructed breathing, either because of too much tissue as seen in obese people or decreased muscle tone which may be seen with low testosterone. This inhibits the air flow in the mouth and nose thereby causing the snoring and decreased ability for adequate oxygenation during sleep. As a result, men often wake up numerous times during the night and rarely achieve deep sleep.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) is considered more dangerous because it can easily lead to death. It is a central nervous system disorder in which the brain signal for breathing is delayed. CSA is often caused by injury or disease affecting the brain stem. The heart will still beat but if the lungs do not receive the message to breathe, then it won’t release oxygen to blood vessels.
If your dad or your guy is a loud snorer, or if he experiences daytime sleepiness, has an enlarged neck or if he stops breathing while sleeping, he may need a polysomnography.
If the women have their OB Gyns, the males should go to an Adult Disease Specialist who can handle diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma,urologic conditions, infections and lifestyle realated conditions.
As you know, men have a tendency to brush off symptoms. Tell your dad (your boyfriend, you brother or your friend) that the headache’s he’s feeling may mean high blood pressure , not just stress or tension. It may not be as extravagant as buying him the latest gadget, but it’s one tender way of telling the special man in your life how much you love him.