According to physicians, the theory that women outlive men by seven years has some level of truth. Unfortunately, illnesses and ailments are a permanent part of human existence. Random illnesses claim millions of lives each year. Moreover, we are all likely to develop more and more medical problems as the years move forward. However, the advancements in modern medicine are contributing to us growing older with little discomfort. Today, there are tests and screenings available to detect illnesses early, which allow patients to receive the necessary treatment before their condition worsens. Nonetheless, many do not take advantage of such tests. Women are more incline to have yearly physicals and seek medical advice for mysterious symptoms. Men are more likely to ignore symptoms, which contributes to millions of males dying prematurely each year. The top four health concerns that may lead to premature death in males are heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and prostrate cancer. Males who recognize the signs of these conditions, and seek medical treatment may prolong their life.
It is estimated that one in four males have heart disease. Many who suffer from heart disease are unaware of their condition. Thus, they do not take the necessary precautions to prevent a heart attack. Although heart disease is a top killer among both sexes, it affects twice as many men, and the symptoms begin to present themselves much earlier in males. The average age that heart attacks occur is between 60 and 70 years. Nonetheless, younger men are not exempted. In recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of men under the age of 40 suffering from heart attacks. Men as young as 25 years of age have died prematurely from heart disease. Thus, it is imperative that healthy lifestyles are adopted in our younger years. Risk factors for heart disease include:
Family history of heart disease
High blood pressure
The signs of a heart attack include:
Excruciating pain in center of chest
Pain in the jaw, neck, shoulders on the left side
Nausea, dizziness, vomiting
Stokes is the third leading killer among men and women. Stokes occurs when there is a disruption of blood flow to the brain. This is a potentially life-threatening condition that can be avoided. However, it takes discipline and a willingness to adopt healthy habits. Risk factors for strokes include:
Race (African-American’s have a higher risk)
Gender (More common in men)
Family history of stokes
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent a stroke. Individuals who have one or more risk factors should make the following changes.
Maintain healthy weight
Avoid fatty foods
Monitor blood pressure
Check blood sugar level
Individuals who are at risk of having a stroke may choose to relieve pain with aspirin. Aspirin has been proven to help blood flow more easily, which prevents blood clots. Blood clots may contribute to strokes and heart attacks. Men may recognize a stroke by the following symptoms:
Numbness on one side of the body
Dizziness or loss of balance
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, and will affect approximately one in six men. Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cells develop in the prostate. Our bodies contain healthy cells that are intended to fight infections. On rare occasions, these healthy cells divide abnormally. Abnormal cells are cancerous. If left untreated, cancerous cells begin attack healthy cells. Thus, it is imperative that prostate cancer is detected early. A delay in treatment may result in a rapid decline of health. Early symptoms of prostate cancer include:
Blood in urine or semen
Prostrate cancer mostly affects African-American men over the age of 45. However, younger men, and those of different races may also be affected. Therefore, anyone who experiences one or more of these symptoms should visit their doctor. Prostate cancer is normally diagnosed through a blood test and a digital rectal exam. Treatment is dependent on the stage of the cancer. Treatments include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or combination therapy.
It is estimated that 90,000 men die each year from lung cancer. Sadly, the majority of these deaths could have been prevented. Approximately 90% of all lung cancer cases are due to smoking. Those who use tobacco products are slowly poisoning their bodies with a toxic substance called carcinogens. When a smoker inhales, this ingredient is released into their lungs and causes damage to the cells. Years of continual smoking may result in the development of cancerous cells. Symptoms of lung cancer include:
Chest, shoulder, or back pain
Shortness of breath
Loss of appetite
Recurring respiratory infections
Smokers who experience one or more of these symptoms should visit their doctor. If left untreated, lung cancer may spread rapidly to surrounding tissues and organs. Those who develop lung cancer may also develop cancer of the brain, liver, and bones. Cancer in this advanced stage is difficult to cure. Quitting smoking is a huge contributor in reducing the risk of lung cancer. Additionally, smoking may increase a person’s chance of having a stroke or heart attack. Thus, those who kick the habit are protecting themselves from a series of illnesses.
Men Health Screenings
Men should receive annual screenings to check for potentially life-threatening illnesses. Screenings should begin around the age of 45 and include:
Monthly testicular and skin cancer exams (men should begin these tests in their early teens)
Annual skin cancer exam by a dermatologist
Annual blood pressure screening
Annual blood sugar screening
Annual or Bi-annual physical exam
Annual prostrate screening
Colonoscopy every 5 to 10 years
Men who suffer from specific medical conditions may require more frequent visits to their doctor. Although an inconvenience, males should not avoid doctor appointments. Regular examinations are vital for preventing illness, and may increase one’s life expectancy by several years.