A Healthier You

A closer look at men’s top 5 health concerns.

June 2021

Did you know that men, on average, die almost five years earlier than women? Part of the reason is that men are more reluctant to go to the doctor. In fact, studies show that women go to the doctor twice as much as men.   

What’s more, certain conditions are more prevalent in men. So, if men don’t keep up with their doctor’s appointments and routine screenings, these health conditions can go untreated and may result in disease and death. 

Men’s Health Month, celebrated every June, was created to bring awareness to the health challenges men face and to encourage early detection and treatment. #MensHealthMonth is the perfect time for men to take their well-being more seriously and to be more mindful of their unique health concerns. 

A closer look at men’s top 5 health concerns 

1. Heart Disease 

Heart disease is the leading killer of both men and women. Almost twice as many men die of conditions that affect the cardiovascular system, according to the Men’s Health Network. The symptoms of heart disease depend on what type of heart disease you have. 

Symptoms of heart disease in the blood vessels: 

  • Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure, and chest discomfort (angina).
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Pain, numbness, weakness, or coldness in your legs or arms if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed.
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen, or back.

Symptoms caused by abnormal heartbeats: 

  • Fluttering in your chest.
  • Racing heartbeat (tachycardia).
  • Slow heartbeat (bradycardia).
  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fainting (syncope) or near fainting.

Symptoms of heart disease caused by diseased heart muscle: 

  • Breathlessness with activity or when at rest.
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet.
  • Fatigue.
  • Irregular heartbeats which feel rapid, pounding, or fluttering.
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting.

Heart disease symptoms caused by heart valve problems: 

  • Fatigue.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Swollen feet or ankles.
  • Chest pain.
  • Fainting (syncope).

2. Stroke 

Stroke is the third leading killer in the country, after heart disease and all forms of cancer. Hypertension is a very important risk factor. 

Signs and symptoms of stroke include: 

• Trouble speaking and understanding what others are saying. 

• Paralysis or numbness of the face, arms, or legs. 

• Problems seeing in one or both eyes. 

• Headache. 

• Trouble walking. 

3. Depression 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 6 million men have depression each year. 

Different men have different symptoms, but some common depression symptoms include:

  • Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness.
  • Feeling anxious, restless, or “on the edge.”
  • Loss of interest in work, family, or once-pleasurable activities.
  • Problems with sexual desire and performance.
  • Feeling sad, “empty,” flat, or hopeless.
  • Not being able to concentrate or remember details.
  • Feeling very tired, not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much.
  • Overeating or not wanting to eat at all.
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts.
  • Physical aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems.
  • Inability to meet the responsibilities of work, caring for family, or other important activities.
  • Engaging in high-risk activities.
  • A need for alcohol or drugs.
  • Withdrawing from family and friends or becoming isolated.

4. Prostate Cancer 

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in men. It’s the second leading type of cancer death in men. Sometimes, men with prostate cancer show no symptoms until it has spread to other parts of the body. 

Symptoms of prostate cancer include:  

  • Difficulty starting urination.
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
  • Frequent urination, especially at night.
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder completely.
  • Pain or burning during urination.
  • Blood in the urine or semen.
  • Pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn’t go away.
  • Painful ejaculation.

5. Lung Cancer 

Lung Cancer is the leading cancer killer of both men and women. It claims more lives than prostate, colon, and breast cancer combined. 

The most common symptoms of lung cancer are: 

  • A cough that does not go away or gets worse.
  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm).
  • Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that don’t go away or keep coming back.
  • New onset of wheezing.

Lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body may cause:

  • Bone pain (like pain in the back or hips). 
  • Nervous system changes (such as headache, weakness or numbness of an arm or leg, dizziness, balance problems, or seizures), from cancer spread to the brain.
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), from cancer spread to the liver.
  • Swelling of lymph nodes (collection of immune system cells) such as those in the neck or above the collarbone.

As your partner in health, we urge you to take charge of your health this #MensHealthMonth. Make a point to connect with your doctor. And if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms discussed in this article, call your doctor right away. 

Source: Menshealthmonth.org, Men’s Health Network, Mayo Clinic, Cancer.org, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Mental Health  

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