Healthy Living

The Most Common Health Problems in Men

Jun 23 2023

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men are 33 percent less likely to see a doctor than women. Knowing more about the common health problems in men can help them understand the importance of getting their annual checkup.

Read on to learn more about men’s health.

Heart disease

According to the American Heart Association, one in three men suffer from some form of heart disease. Heart disease includes health conditions such as heart rhythm disorders, strokes, heart failure and heart attacks, to name a few.

All these different conditions come together to make heart disease the leading cause of death in men.

Some symptoms of heart disease include:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Fluttering sensation in your chest
  • Numbness or weakness in your extremities
  • Shortness of breath

High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease, with high cholesterol levels being one of the other risk factors. In fact, high LDL cholesterol levels can double a person’s risk for heart disease. A primary care provider can screen men for these health conditions. And if they have one, the provider can come up with a treatment and/or management plan with them.

Prostate cancer

While skin cancer is the cancer most common in men, the type of cancer that follows close behind it is prostate cancer. 

Signs of prostate cancer include:

  • Blood in semen or painful ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or painful urination
  • Difficulty urinating or weak flow
  • Pain in the pelvis or hips

About one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, but men 50 and older are at higher risk for developing it. The best thing you can do to help prevent prostate cancer is to lead a healthy lifestyle.

And back to skin cancer: wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is extremely important and the best way to stay safe.

COPD and other respiratory diseases

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a group of diseases that cause breathing-related problems and airflow blockage.

Symptoms of COPD include:

  • Frequent coughing or wheezing
  • Excess phlegm, mucus or sputum production
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble taking a deep breath

Men who suffer from COPD are also more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer. While exposure to air pollution is one risk factor for COPD, tobacco smoke is by far the key factor. Therefore, men who are smokers are definitely more at risk for both COPD and lung cancer.

Mental health issues

Symptoms of a mental health disorder in men can include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Anger, irritability or aggressiveness
  • Noticeable changes in mood, energy level or appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Increased worry or feeling stressed
  • Persistent sadness or feelings of hopelessness
  • Aches, headaches or digestive problems without a clear cause
  • Thoughts or behaviors that interfere with work, family or social life

Both men and women are equally susceptible to suffering from a mental health disorder. However, for men, the subject of mental health has remained a more of a taboo one.

Most men may feel they need to be strong, tough and hold their feelings inside. However, this will only make their mental health problems worse over time.

Plus, since mental health issues can lead to physical health issues very easily, it makes it that much more important for men to make sure they are taking care of themselves emotionally and seeking the help of a mental health professional if they need someone to talk to.

What can men do to fight these health risks?

When it comes to overcoming these common health problems in men, a healthy lifestyle goes a long way.

A healthy diet filled with lean proteins as well as lots of fruits and vegetables is important for men at any age. Another important lifestyle habit important for all men is regular exercise. Adult men should aim for at least two and a half hours, or 150 minutes, of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.

If you are a smoker, try to take positive steps toward quitting. And when it comes to drinking alcohol, at the very least drink it every so often and in small amounts.

And last, but certainly not least, all men should have a primary care provider they are having regular checkups with on an annual basis. At these checkups, your provider can screen you for some of the above men’s health conditions. This is extremely important because a lot of these conditions sometimes come with not many, or even any, symptoms.

Learn about the primary care services we provide at Mercy Health.

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