Men are predisposed to develop certain diseases and problems that are not common to women. Some of these gender-specific conditions include prostate and testicular cancers, erectile dysfunction, varicocele and benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). The specific lifestyles that you lead can also make you prone to certain diseases such as – bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and liver disease. Many of these conditions are chronic, causing lifetime disability and even early death.
Why this gender disparity, you ask? While some of these diseases are attributed to their unique anatomy, when compared to women, men are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, make unhealthy choices, take illness lightly and put off regular doctor’s visits until the very end. Here are a few ways you can manage your health, prevent these conditions and improve your quality of life.
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle by eating well, exercising, limiting your alcohol intake and quitting smoking.
- Get your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol and weight checked regularly.
- Watch out for warning signs of health problems.
- Visit your doctor immediately when you start experiencing persistent medical problems before they worsen.
- Ensure that your vaccinations are up-to-date.
Apart from these, regular screening is an important tool that helps detect many health problems even when you think you are healthy and fit. Early diagnosis of any disease is key to the effective management, timely treatment, better recovery and even possible cure for many. Based on the susceptibility to a particular disease, many screening tests have been recommended at particular ages, with regular follow-up after a particular period of time. Some of the important tests that your doctor would recommend include:
- Blood and urine tests for diabetes, cholesterol, kidney or thyroid dysfunction, every three years from 20 years of age, every two years 40 years and every year after the age of 50.
- Electrocardiogram for heart problems, every 2 years after the age of 30, and every year after 40 years of age.
- Regular self-examination of testicles and breasts for lumps and early signs of cancer from age 20.
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in sexually active adults.
- Rectal exam every year from the age of 20 to detect hemorrhoids, colon and prostate cancers.
- Hemoccult, every year from the age of 40, to identify early signs of polyps and colon cancer.
- Prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test, every year after the age of 50 to detect cancer or enlargement of the prostate gland.
The key to good health is choosing a healthy lifestyle and understanding your health risks. Good awareness about the high risk for various diseases and early signs that can help detect them can help you stay healthy and live a fulfilling life.