Maintain your health and quality of life through awareness of these risk factors and warning signs.
Have you reached a point in your life where you’re trying to get more proactive about caring for your health? Here are some of the health risks that men are particularly vulnerable to, as well as some of the warning signs of a serious issue. Working to prevent these conditions and knowing the warning signals will help you protect your health and live a longer, higher-quality life.
One in three men has some type of cardiovascular disease. Factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol level, and smoking can influence a person’s likelihood of developing heart disease. Men are more likely to have hypertension under age 45 than women.
Often, a high level of alcohol use—over four drinks per day for men—is responsible for liver disease. Signs include pain in the upper right abdomen area or appearing jaundiced, but by that time, the disease has often progressed too far to reverse. Get a blood test to find out the state of your liver.
If your family has a history of prostate cancer, or if you’re African American—a slightly higher risk category—start getting regular screenings for prostate cancer when you’re forty. Otherwise, you should start getting screened by 50. The screening recommendations are similar for colon cancer.
Men are more likely than women to get type 2 diabetes at a lower weight. Risk factors include a family history of the disease, low level of exercise, being overweight, being over age 45, and not eating healthy enough. Your doctor can give you a blood test to check for diabetes.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) inflames and thickens the airways of the lungs. Shortness of breath and difficulty performing doing day-to-day activities are potential signals of COPD. Once diagnosed, it can be managed. Some men may be prone to lung diseases caused by their occupation; for example, pneumoconiosis is a result of inhaling excessive amounts of dust particles. Older men or those with other health conditions may be more vulnerable to influenza.
Depression is a serious condition for men, and it can eventually interfere with the ability to work or enjoy life. It may even cause a person to become suicidal when left untreated. Genetic factors, illness, and life experiences can trigger depression, which has a broad range of symptoms, from irritability to a sense of hopelessness.
Warning signs that demand immediate medical attention
Seek help right away if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Crushing chest pain, squeezing, or tightness in the chest area.
- Numbness in the face, arms, or legs (a possible sign of stroke or another condition).
- Swollen feet or ankles (or any other unusual swelling), a potential sign of edema.
- A tearing feeling in your back, which could signal an aorta rupture.
- Tingling in your extremities, which could point to circulation problems or other issues.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of conditions or warning signs. Talk with your doctor about whether you should be especially concerned about any particular health issues, and listen to your body. If you’re experiencing a strange or unpleasant new sensation, find out what’s happening. By staying in tune with your body and health, you’ll maximize your overall quality of life!
AARP, “7 Health Warning Signs You Should Not Ignore”
AHA, “Men and Cardiovascular Diseases”
American Lung Association, “Learn about COPD”
CDC, “Diabetes Risk Factors”
CDC, “People at High Risk for Flu Complications”
CDC, “Type 2 Diabetes”
Healthline, “10 Top Health Risks for Men”
Hopkins Medicine, “5 Reasons You May Be at Risk for Liver Disease”
The Lung Institute, “How Do Lung Diseases Affect Men vs. Women?”
NIMH, “Men and Depression”
Women’s Day, “10 Most Common Men’s Health Issues”