A very big book could be written about all the health conditions that men become more susceptible to as they age, but there are four conditions in particular that men are at great risk to be diagnosed with as they advance in years. Here are four common men’s health conditions, risk factors for each, and tips for prevention.
1. Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in men. The American Cancer Society estimates that one out of six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in his life. Prostate cancer occurs mostly in men in their 60s, and there is often an absence of clear symptoms during the early stages. Although it can be a serious disease, most men don’t die from prostate cancer.
Age is the biggest risk factor. Men under 40 years old are rarely diagnosed with prostate cancer. It’s found mostly in men above 65 years of age, but it can occur at an earlier age.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables because they contain protective vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help your body fight against all types of cancer. You should also minimize saturated fat intake and exercise regularly.
2. Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes. People diagnosed with type 2 diabetes either cannot properly use insulin or their pancreas doesn’t crank out enough insulin. Without enough insulin (or inadequate usage of it), glucose (sugar) builds up in your system because it can’t be shuttled into cells to be used for energy.
Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to
- kidney, heart, and nerve damage
- small blood vessel damage
- heart disease
- and more
People who are at very high risk include:
- those over 45 years of age
- those who are overweight
- people who are inactive
- people with family members who have diabetes
- those who carry more body fat around the abdomen
Your race is also a factor. It is not known why, but African Americans, Asian-Americans, and American Indians are at greater risk than whites to develop type 2 diabetes.
You cannot control certain factors such as your age, race, or family history. However, adopting a healthy lifestyle can do a lot to protect you from type 2 diabetes. Exercise regularly, eat lots of vegetables and fruits, eat mostly low fat foods, and keep sugar intake to a minimum.
Drink mostly water, and keep sugary flavored drinks to a minimum. Choose diet sodas if you must drink soda (which you shouldn’t), and trade in sugary fruit juices for lower calorie juices and/or no-sugar drinks like Crystal Light.
Eating unprocessed foods that are low in sugar and exercising consistently help keep your blood sugar levels stable, which is very important to prevent or control diabetes.
3. High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure affects 1 of every 3 adults in the U.S. It can lead to kidney or heart failure, stroke, and other undesirable outcomes. The scariest part is that there are no symptoms in many cases. For this reason, high blood pressure has been nicknamed “the silent killer.”
You can have the condition and not even know it!
The risk factor list is a bit lengthy:
- being overweight
- being inactive
- consuming too much salt and sugar
- chronic stress
- excessive drinking
- age (mid 40s – 50s)
- race (African Americans particularly)
- family history of high blood pressure
- certain chronic conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and kidney disease
Once again, eating healthy and exercising are the two most important things that you can do to prevent hypertension.
- keep your salt and sugar intake to a minimum
- don’t smoke
- take steps to lower your stress levels
- be aware of your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers
4. Heart Disease
Heart disease includes several conditions, but it usually refers to plaque build-up in the arteries. The more plaque there is clogging your arteries, the higher your risk is for having a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure.
Here are some alarming statistics to chew on…
- Heart disease is the top cause of death for men (and women) in the United States.
- About 70 to 89% of all sudden cardiac events happen in men.
- Of all the men who die suddenly from heart disease, roughly half of them experience no previous symptoms.
Diabetes, being overweight, lack of physical activity, smoking, and alcohol abuse are all risk factors for heart disease.
- eat 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and limit your intake of saturated fat
- exercise at least three times per week
- don’t drink excessively
- don’t smoke
The main point of this article is that you can prevent almost every health condition by eating well and exercising. It’s impossible to guarantee that you will never deal with any health issues, but you can (and should) do whatever possible to keep yourself healthy.