The top 5 men’s health issues and how to help avoid them
With quite a few health conditions specifically targeted towards men, it is important to not only visit your doctor for regular check-ups but to also be aware of your health risks so you can implement daily practices for prevention.
So, what are the main health issues men need to watch out for? Here are the top 5 most common concerns and our tips to help avoid them.
A healthy heart is central to our overall wellbeing. You are never too old (or young) to take care of your heart, so it’s important to keep an eye on things. Thankfully, specific measures can be easily implemented to help reduce your chances1 of getting heart disease or suffering from myocardial infarction (heart attack). This includes ensuring you are eating a healthy diet to control your weight, lowering your stress levels through exercise and deep breathing, quit smoking and working with your healthcare provider to check your blood pressure regularly.
Did you know you can implement a few simple lifestyle changes2 to reduce your risk of a stroke? In terms of diet, it is important to choose foods with less salt, or sodium, to lower your blood pressure and foods that are rich in fibre and whole grains to manage your cholesterol. When it comes to physical activity, it is also key to exercise at least 2.5 hrs per week to help maintain a healthy weight and keep your heart and blood vessels healthier and stronger.
The good news with prostate cancer is that if found early, the disease is effectively treatable. To help reduce your risk, your diet3 is one way to reduce or delay the risk of developing prostate cancer. A diet tailored to promoting a healthy heart has been shown to help with the recovery of treatment and also reduce the potential recurrence of prostate cancer. This includes keeping fat to a minimum, avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol, increasing your fish intake for omega-3 fatty acids and incorporating lycopene-rich foods such as cooked tomatoes and cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower) into your weekly meals.
Majority of lung cancer cases in men are directly related to cigarette smoking4 with symptoms5 including a cough that gets worse or doesn’t go away, chest pain, shortness of breath and wheezing. To reduce your risk of lung cancer the answer is simple - stop smoking and reduce your exposure to second-hand smoke. If you are struggling to quit on your own, it is important to speak to your healthcare provider who can direct you to the right resources and support groups to help you kick your habit for good.
Suicide and depression
Suicide is a hugely sensitive topic, however luckily there is significant support for men who might be struggling emotionally. There are also some simple lifestyle changes you can take to help reduce overwhelming feelings of depression or sadness. Research6 suggests that behaviours such as cigarette smoking, alcohol use, sedentary lifestyle and occupational difficulties are all associated with suicide risk across all age groups so should be avoided if possible.
If you feel that you are unable to cope with the levels of depression that you are experiencing, then it’s vital that you get professional help as soon as possible.
Find out more about the health screening cover available through our international health plans.
1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/men.htm), last accessed in September 2021
2. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/healthy_living.htm), last accessed in September 2021
3. Mayo Clinic (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/benign-prostatic-hyperplasia/expert-answers/enlarged-prostate-and-diet/faq-20322773), last accessed in January 2023
4. US National Library of Medicine (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4080902), last accessed in September 2021
5. Cancer Treatment Centers of America (https://www.cancercenter.com/cancer-types/lung-cancer/symptoms), last accessed in September 2021
6. Researchgate.net (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328763118_Lifestyle_Interventions_and_Prevention_of_Suicide), last accessed in September 2021