To expand on our previous article on recognizing June as Men’s Health Month, there is no better time than now to start having conversations about health with your family and healthcare provider. Below is a list of 4 health issues men need to talk about and their importance.
1. Prostate Cancer: Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in men, second only to skin cancer. The prostate, a walnut-sized gland located behind the penis and responsible for secreting fluids, is prone to problems as a man ages. It is a less aggressive form of cancer, slow-growing, and unlikely to spread. Only a small percentage of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will die from it. The issues arise when it goes undetected. It is recommended that men get screened for prostate cancer on a regular basis after the age of 50 and at the age of 45 if they are considered high-risk. The screening requires a digital rectal exam and a blood test.
2. Low Testosterone: Decreased testosterone levels may cause fatigue, erectile dysfunction, and even depression. The natural decline starts at age 30 for most men. A few lab tests and a physical exam can determine if testosterone levels are abnormally low. There are several ways to balance out those hormone levels. Some of those methods include injections and patches. There is a direct link between low testosterone and increased percentage of body fat. Consulting a weight-loss doctor can provide guidance on how to tackle this.
3. Depression: Depression is a change in emotional state that impacts the body and one’s overall health and well-being. Depression is a result of brain chemicals and stress hormones that are out of balance. For years, researchers believed that depression impacted women far more than men. They have since found that men do a better job at hiding the symptoms of depression. Men with depression tend to get more aggressive and display anger more than other emotions, such as sadness. There are treatments for depression, and most people respond well to those treatments.
4. Erectile Dysfunction: Erectile dysfunction or ED may not seem like a serious medical issue, but it does impact a man’s quality of life. ED may cause men to feel less fulfilled and may even cause depression. ED is most commonly caused by atherosclerosis, which is the same process that causes heart attacks. There are several treatments for ED, but if you or the man in your life is experiencing erectile dysfunction, a doctor’s visit is in order. Ask questions about issues other than sexual enjoyment, since ED is considered an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease.
As always, please discuss any medical concerns or issues with your weight-loss doctor or primary care physician.