It’s no surprise there are certain health concerns or diseases more common in men than in women. However, you might be surprised to learn that health risks more commonly found in men are not necessarily limited to sicknesses or ailments. Certain lifestyle choices and behaviors can also contribute to common health problems frequently seen in men. Below are 8 of the most common health issues that men face.
Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, is the leading cause of health problems for men. The CDC reports that heart disease is the cause of death in one in every four males. What makes heart disease so significant is that often times there are little to no symptoms until it is too late.
Age and family history can play a role in determining a man’s risk of heart disease. However, risk factors also include smoking, being overweight, poor diet, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Staying active, eating nutritional foods, and making healthy choices can curb those risks and decrease your chances of developing heart disease.
Prostate cancer is the health risk exclusive to men and is the most common cancer found in men, other than skin cancer (see below). Statistically speaking, in 2019 more than 170,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and approximately 1 and every 9 men will be diagnosed with this disease. Fortunately, through prostate cancer screening and blood testing, early diagnosis is possible and treatment can be successful.
Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, occurs when an individual is unable to control their drinking. While approximately 15.1 million adults suffer from alcohol use disorder, approximately 9.8 million of those individuals are men. Of the 88,000 people who die from alcohol-related causes each year, the vast majority (approximately 62,000) are men.
In recent years, respiratory diseases are becoming more and more common in men ranging from lung cancer to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Causes of respiratory disease include smoking or extensive exposure to industrial dust, chemicals or air pollution. Age and genetic factors can also play a role in disease development. Fortunately, thanks to advances in detection and treatment, respiratory disease in men have been on the decline since 1999.
Diabetes is caused by the inability of an individual to regulate glucose levels in the blood. If not properly treated, diabetes can lead to a slew of additional health problems such as heart disease, vision problems and kidney failure. While diabetes is prevalent in both men and women, the condition is slightly more common in adult men. Obesity is a leading contributor to Type 2 diabetes, so a healthy diet and staying active will greatly decrease the chances of developing this condition.
Liver disease encompasses several different ailments including liver cancer, cirrhosis, alcoholic liver disease and hepatitis. Since 2000, the number of liver disease diagnosis has steadily increased. More specifically, the rate of liver disease in men aged between 45 and 64 increased 21 percent. Liver disease can be difficult to live with, but it’s treatable. Despite the increased rate of diagnosis, death from liver disease in men has declined.
Mental health is another important aspect of men’s health and often isn’t considered a major health concern. Nine percent of men experience depression or anxiety daily and more than 30 percent of men have experienced an extended period of depression. Depression can negatively affect a person’s sleep and decision-making, and if left untreated, can have devastating results including self-harm and suicide. Therapy and medication can help treat depression.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer found in men and is the leading cause of death from cancer in men. When compared to women, men over 49 have a much higher probability of developing melanoma and are 55 percent more likely to die from melanoma. Most skin cancers are the result from damaging sun exposure. The risk of developing this disease can be greatly reduced by regularly applying sunscreen and covering exposed skin when spending an extended period of time outdoors.