All too often, men avoid going to the doctor - nearly 60 percent, actually - unless there is a clear problem or health scare. Experts suggest this is because of societal and medical reasons. Specifically, because women generally need preventative care, they are more likely to be active in their healthcare needs. Men, however, do not need the usual hormone-related care that women do which means their healthcare takes a back seat.
But around age 45, men's bodies begin to change and their health does as well. There are three major influences on a man's health:
Lifestyle - Including things such as smoking, drinking, drugs (illicit or prescription), exercise, diet.
Mental Health - Experts report mental health is a vital part of staying healthy. For example, people who self-rated themselves with high levels of distress were 32 percent more likely to have died from cancer and depression has been found to be associated with increased risk of coronary artery disease.
Genetics - While genetics and accidents are largely uncontrollable, advances in healthcare have provided medical professionals with genomics to address some of these issues.
Whether you've spent your entire life eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle or lived a carefree lifestyle, age has a way of creeping up on us. For men reaching middle age, this means staying on top of aspects of your physical health that you may have never thought of. If you are feeling more tired than usual, seem to have less stamina than before, or generally feel a bit foggy, these are very common symptoms associated with the aging male.
Medical Concerns for Men
There are a number of medical concerns that men over age 45 should be aware of and take precautions to prevent or treat:
One in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime - most over age 65 but can be diagnosed before age 40, although rarest.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects millions of men each year. While studies have shown that lifestyle changes can reduce a man's risk for ED, these studies also show that "90 percent of all men with erectile dysfunction had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, including diabetes, hypertension, having poor cholesterol levels or being a current smoker."
The American Heart Association reports that more than one in three adult men have some form of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and it's the number one cause of death among men according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Colorectal Cancer is the third most common cancer among men and women, excluding skin cancer and is projected to cause more than 50,000 deaths in 2018. Men are more susceptible than women to this disease but early detection has proven to save the lives of those diagnosed.
Unintentional accidents are the third most common cause of death for all of the men in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The Human Body is A Wondrous Machine
While each of these conditions or risks can be mitigated and/or remedied with routine health checks, not every symptom is a sign there is something disastrously wrong. That's why talking openly and honestly with your primary care provider is important to establish what - if anything - is really going on.
For example, while ED can be an issue on its own, it can also be the result of diabetes in men. The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health reports that metabolic syndrome has significant differences for men than for women but regardless, metabolic syndrome increases one's risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), heart attacks, and strokes. Insulin resistance and inflammation, closely linked to metabolic syndrome, also contribute to one's risk of CVD.
Weight gain can also be an issue for men over age 50. As men age, their hormone levels are reduced making the storage of fat around their midsection more predominant. This, too, puts them at a risk for developing metabolic syndrome and other complications such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol, erectile dysfunction, fatty liver disease and, ultimately, higher mortality rate.
Talk With Your Doctor
Your primary care physician will listen to your concerns, take your information, perform tests and work with you to develop a comprehensive plan for optimized health. Having a personal Direct Primary Care physician who you can talk to about your medical concerns, history, issues, and future can make a huge impact on your quality of life as you enter into this exciting stage of your life.
Add to that the convenience of avoiding costly insurance copays, access to 24/7/365-daycare, personalized attention, and specialized care, the option of a qualified, dedicated concierge physician is an undeniably great choice.
At Preferred Family Medicine, Dr. Christopher Highly is committed to providing you with the best in personal care that incorporates every aspect of your well-being: Mental, physical, and emotional. Contact us today to find out how our Reno Concierge medical services can serve you.