4 Common Health Concerns for Men to Keep an Eye Out For

Learn more about four common health concerns for men including warning signs and prevention tips.

Young male patient in medical room having blood pressure checked by doctor.

Although caring for your health is important regardless of your gender, certain health conditions are more common in men than women. Here’s four common health concerns in men:

Heart disease

While heart disease kills both men and women, nearly twice as many men die of conditions relating to the cardiovascular system every year. The CDC reports that one in four men has some type of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States.

The average age of a first heart attack is also younger for men at 65.8 years than it’s for women at 70.4 years. Some of the other risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Tobacco use
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • Physical inactivity
  • Diabetes

While some of the factors related to heart disease are beyond your control, such as your age, sex, and family history, the factors outlined above relate to lifestyle and can be controlled.

If, for example, you smoke and are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, talk with your doctor about quitting smoking. If you're struggling with you weight, consider what lifestyle changes you can make and talk to your doctor. Simple changes like daily walks and eating a heathier, more balanced diet can make a big difference.

Lung cancer and COPD

Lung cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and other respiratory illnesses are also common in men. Lung cancer is the leading form of cancer-causing death among both men and women, claiming more lives than breast, colon, and prostate cancer combined.

Smoking is the top risk factor for lung cancer and COPD. Exposure to secondhand smoke, radon, and asbestos are also potential risk factors.

Mental health issues

Mental health struggles impact people of all ages and genders. However, research has shown that over 6 million men in the U.S. suffer from depressive disorders, including suicidal thoughts, every year.

Depression can lead to an increased risk of suicide, so it’s important to get help at the first sign of this mental challenge. Some of the most common warning signs of suicide for men include:

  • Irritability, aggression, or anger
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Feeling hopeless or sad
  • Loss of interest in work, family, or other activities
  • Feeling restless or anxious
  • Physical pain, including digestive problems, cramps, or headaches
  • Change in appetite
  • Trouble concentrating
  • A need to use drugs or alcohol

Mental health problems in men can be more difficult to diagnose and treat because men are often more apt to avoid addressing their feelings or to seek help. However, getting treatment for depression, anxiety, or any other type of mental health need is not a sign of weakness. Doing so could save your life or the life of a loved one.

Liver disease

The liver is a vital organ that helps in the digestive process, absorbing nutrients and ridding the body of toxic substances. Some of the most common diseases that impact this organ include cirrhosis, liver and bile duct cancer, viral hepatitis, and alcoholic liver disease.

The American Cancer Society reports that tobacco and alcohol use increases your chances of developing some form of liver disease. Heavy alcohol use is linked to cirrhosis and alcoholic liver disease. Some symptoms of liver disease include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and/or skin)
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever

Your healthcare provider can diagnose liver disease but making changes to your lifestyle may help reduce your risk of contracting this disease in the future.

Related: Men’s Health: The Basic Guidelines

The best ways to protect yourself against worrisome health conditions include eating a balanced diet, staying active, and seeing your healthcare provider regularly for check-ups.

Related: Men! Ask These Questions to Improve Your Health

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