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What do we know about men’s health? What is the difference between women’s and men’s health?

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Men’s health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, as experienced by men, and not merely the absence of disease. Differences in men’s health compared to women’s can be attributed to biological factors, behavioral factors, and social factors (e.g., occupations).

Men’s health often relates to biological factors such as the male reproductive system or to conditions caused by hormones specific to, or most notable in, males. Some conditions that affect both men and women, such as cancer, and injury, manifest differently in men Some diseases that affect both sexes are statistically more common in men. In terms of behavioral factors, men are more likely to make unhealthy or risky choices and less likely to seek medical care.

Men may face issues not directly related to their biology, such as gender-differentiated access to medical treatment and other socioeconomic factors. Outside Sub-Saharan Africa, men are at greater risk of HIV/AIDS. This is associated with unsafe sexual activity that is often nonconsensual.

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Men are notorious for avoiding the doctor and ignoring unusual symptoms. This may help explain why women tend to live longer. Don’t let complacency take a toll on your health.

Schedule yearly checkups with your doctor and keep these appointments. Your doctor can help monitor your weight, blood pressure, and the level of cholesterol in your blood. Excess weight, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Your doctor can recommend lifestyle changes, medications, or other treatments to help get your weight, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol under control.

Major risks to men’s health include heart disease, cancer, depression and the tendency to engage in risky behavior.

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Men are less likely than women to visit the doctor, resulting in more hospitalizations and deaths from preventable conditions.

Harmful substances and the natural aging process are the top detriments to men’s sexual health., Regular checkups and health screenings can result in longer, healthier lives in most men., Living a healthy lifestyle can prevent and treat most problems associated with men’s health.

How men age

From infancy to old age, men’s bodies go through diverse changes. It’s important for men to be aware of the changes taking place in their bodies. Older men may require different things than younger men in order to maintain their health.

During adolescence, increasing testosterone levels often lead boys to develop an interest in sex and pursue more risky behaviors. Societal expectations may cause them to suppress emotions and develop a fear of communicating about changes in their lives. Some believe this may be why men are more likely than women to suffer unintentional harm or to die from homicide or suicide. Men are also more likely to die in an alcohol-related car accident.

Men’s health risks over time

Through their 20s and 30s, when men are in their physical prime, they mature and begin to stop engaging in risky behaviors. Still, men are more likely than women to abuse alcohol, smoke and die of accidental deaths.

During their 40s and 50s, men’s bodies produce testosterone at declining rates. They begin to lose muscle mass and become more prone to weight gain. Their risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes increases. On average, men develop heart disease about 10 years earlier than women, and 1 in 4 male deaths is caused by heart disease.

Men’s bodies never completely stop producing testosterone, but testosterone production may decrease with age. When men reach their 60s and 70s, they may begin to experience hair loss and enlarging prostates. In older age, men often become less active and need fewer calories. However, their bodies can’t absorb nutrients at the same rate so they must pay close attention to what they eat.

Checkups and screenings

Historically, men avoid seeking healthcare until they have to. About 38 percent of men admit to only going to the doctor when they are extremely sick or when symptoms don’t go away on their own. In a survey from the American Academy of Family Physicians, 55 percent of men admitted that they had not seen a doctor for a physical exam within the previous year, although 40 percent of them had one or more chronic health conditions.

Unfortunately, doctors could prevent and treat many of the common health conditions in men with early diagnoses. If caught early, doctors can more effectively treat major conditions like heart disease and colon cancer.

Interestingly, men who are married are more likely to visit the doctor and seek preventative services than cohabiting men or other non-married men. Visiting the doctor regularly can help men catch potentially deadly diseases or conditions early.

Common diseases and conditions

Men suffer from many of the same conditions that women suffer from, but the conditions affect the sexes differently.

Men are at a higher risk for high blood pressure than women until age 64. At ages 65 and older, women are more likely to get high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to a number of problems, including heart failure, aneurysms (bulges in arteries), and an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.

Many men with high blood pressure are also at risk for diabetes, which is a major health concern. The excess buildup of sugar in the body caused by diabetes can lead to severe health problems, including stroke, congestive heart failure, peripheral artery disease, kidney disease and nerve damage.

Heart disease

Heart disease causes about 25 percent of all male deaths in the U.S. every year. The lack of symptoms before sudden death from heart disease is one of the scariest aspects of the illness. About one half of all men who die suddenly from heart disease never experience symptoms.

The risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. An estimated 51 percent of American men possess at least one of those risk factors.

Several other factors can contribute to the disease, including diabetes, obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol intake.

Cancer

Cancer kills more than 300,000 American men every year. The most common types of cancer that affect men include skin, prostate, lung and colorectal cancer.

Lung cancer causes more male deaths than any other cancer, and prostate cancer is the most common cancer that affects men. Cigarette smoking is almost always the cause of lung cancer, so avoiding or quitting smoking can help prevent this type of cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, but it grows so slowly that many men do not die from it. In fact, many men die from other causes and never know they had prostate cancer. Treating and screening for cancer may not be helpful for all men, so men should talk to their doctors to discuss their options.

Testicular cancer is another major issue among men. Rates of testicular cancer are highest among men ages 30 to 39. Another concern is human papillomaviruses (HPV), which can sometimes cause cancer in men. The CDC recommends HPV vaccines for boys ages 11-12, and for men younger than 27 who have not already been vaccinated.

Testicular cancer is another major issue among men. It most commonly occurs in men ages 20-54. Another concern is human papillomaviruses (HPB), which can cause cancer. Doctors recommend HPV vaccines for boys ages 11-21.

Depression

Although everyone can experience depression, men and women experience it differently. Men are usually more likely to feel tired and irritable and lose interest in work, family and hobbies. Men suffering from depression are usually more likely to find sleeping difficult.

Although women attempt to commit suicide at a higher rate, men are almost four times more likely to die from suicide than women.

Many men fail to recognize and seek help for depression, often because they are less likely to talk about their feelings. Depression affects men of all ages and races. A variety of factors contribute to the disorder, including genes, environmental stress and illness. However, men who seek help or treatment can recover.

Sexual health

The importance of sexual health to men is evident by the billions of dollars men spend on sexual enhancement drugs and supplements each year. Sexual health refers to a state of wellbeing in which a man can completely participate and enjoy sexual activity.

Hormones like testosterone drive sexual desire in men, but many men view sex as more than a reproductive function. For most men, sex is also a pleasurable activity and a way to strengthen bonds between two people.

A wide variety of factors affect men’s sexual health, including physical, psychological, social and interpersonal factors. Sex is not without its downsides though.

Sexually-transmitted diseases, or STDs, can ruin men’s overall health and sexual health. While abstinence is the best way to avoid STDs, it’s not an option many men are willing to consider. Men can reduce the risk of obtaining an STD by knowing the sexual history of their partner, using latex condoms and receiving vaccinations.

Eat natural foods

Packaged and processed foods are often full of sugar, salt, unhealthy fats, artificial additives, and calories. Limit the fake stuff and eat a wide variety of:

o          fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grain products, such as brown rice and whole-grain breads, fiber-rich foods, such as beans and leafy greens, lean cuts of meat and poultry, such as skinless chicken breast and lean ground beef, fish, such as salmon

o          Men’s health involves a variety of gender-specific issues, like testosterone production, sexual health and increased likelihood of engaging in risky behavior.

o          Many men avoid doctors and hospitals but suffer from preventable diseases and conditions. Unfortunately, there are also a number of supplements targeted toward men that may do more harm than good. Men can take control of their health by eating a healthy diet, making simple lifestyle adjustments and visiting the doctor regularly.

o          Many men do not make their health a high priority in their lives. The ailments that cause the most deaths and illnesses in men are either preventable or treatable. Unfortunately, men are usually less willing than women to visit doctors for checkups or preventative care, to seek treatment during the early stages of an ailment or to seek mental health advice.

o          Men are also more likely to engage in risky behavior like drinking alcohol in excess, smoking tobacco and driving dangerously. Luckily, there are many easy steps that quick Facts About Men’s Health:

Author’s email: [email protected], send text messages only to 002207774469 3-6PM.

Dr Hassan Azadeh, senior lecturer at the University of The Gambia, Clinical Director at Medicare Health Services

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