Contributed by – Healthians Team
Our fathers are our real life superheroes, the ones who help, support, protect and encourage us throughout our lives. The ones who will still worry about their grownup children’s health and keep suggesting remedies. The ones who never take their own health seriously, and always say that whatever it is that is troubling them, will resolve in a couple of days. Many times they will deny and ignore the signs of ill health, delaying treatment. But, as they grow older and frail it is our responsibility to look after their health and help them when they need us the most. Most illnesses can be treated or managed if the diagnosis is done early and proper treatment is administered. The way to good health is by recognizing what risks exist, so here we have a list of illnesses that impact men and what to monitor in men’s health post 50.
Read on and learn what you can do to help your father be hale and hearty.
Heart disease and stroke
Poor lifestyle choices are one of the major causes behind heart diseases and stroke. Common health issues like high cholesterol and high blood pressure puts men at a higher risk of several heart problems. The most common factors that lead to heart problems are:
- Untimely and unhealthy diet
- Lack of physical activity
- Unhealthy sleep routine
Changing these habits and following a healthy routine can lower heart related risks. Make sure all necessary and regular medications for high cholesterol and blood pressure as recommended by the doctor are taken. Keep track of health risks with lipid profile and other tests for heart diseases.
Diabetes is another common health problem which does not even spare young men. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder and people who are overweight or have excess abdominal fat and irregular diet patterns are more prone to it. Early signs and symptoms of diabetes include:
- Increased thirst
- Excess urination
- Weight loss
Proper diet and healthy lifestyle changes along with appropriate medications can help control diabetes and prevent its complications. Know the risk for diabetes with blood glucose test and monitor the progress with HbA1c (shows blood sugar levels over a particular period of time) for proper detection and timely treatment.
Smoking regularly can have severe impact on a person’s heath and can cause real harm to their lungs. Chronic and passive smoking, exposure to pollutants are some of the major causes of lung diseases. Men suffer or are more prone to various respiratory diseases and lung problems like:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) – COPD includes various lung disorders like emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and forms of bronchiectasis.
- Asthma – Asthma is one of the most common respiratory diseases which includes episodes of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath (known as an asthma attack).
- Bronchitis – Inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes is termed as bronchitis. It can be both chronic and acute.
According to studies, India contributes a significant percentage of deaths due to COPD which is among the highest in the world.
Liver damage or disorders are particularly due to drinking alcohol and faulty dietary habits. Men often indulge in binge drinking at parties, gatherings and even at home. Various liver conditions common in men are:
- Fatty liver
- Liver abscess
However, timely investigations can help to detect and fight liver diseases at early stage. Controlled alcohol consumption, exercise and healthy diet can ensure good liver health.
Kidneys are really important. Kidney disorders can lead to major health problems and can be fatal as well. Men are at a higher risk of kidney problems like:
- Kidney stones
- Urinary infections
- Renal damage
- Increased uric acid
- Kidney failure
Blood and urine tests along with clinical symptoms can help detect urinary infection and kidney stones. Kidney functions tests that measure serum like uric acid, creatinine and blood urea nitrogen test (BUN) are advised to detect early kidney disease.
Depression is usually considered more common in women but recent studies have shown that men are at a greater risks of mental health problems including depression. Depression also leads to an increased number of suicides in men as compared to women. Increasing work stress, social pressures and other problems have seen a steep rise in depression and other mental health issues in men. Men suffering from depression may appear unenthusiastic, disturbed, less social and may lack self-esteem. Depression is still a taboo in our society and various social stigmas related to it leads to ignorance of the disease. It is also necessary to note that retirees are also highly susceptible to depression as their sense of self is tied to their work and the isolation post retirement also makes them extremely unhappy.
It is important for all to know that depression too is a major health risk and men can suffer from it as well. So, be aware of any signs of depression and get an expert opinion if you suspect anything.
Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer generally affecting younger men. Testicular cancer is a cancer of the testis (a male reproductive part). This cancer is curable with timely diagnosis with proper treatment. While young boys and men are more susceptible to it, older men are also advised to perform testicular self-examination regularly to be aware of any problem. The symptoms that require immediate medical consultation include:
- Any change in size of the testis
- Pain and swelling in the testis
Further, medical examination and advanced blood tests can help confirm the diagnosis and one can plan further treatment accordingly.
Prostate cancer is most common in middle aged or elderly men. Prostate is a male gland that produces sperm and a vital part of male anatomy. The symptoms of prostate cancer include:
- Burning pain or difficulty in passing urine
- Increased frequency of urination
- Erection problems
- Blood in semen
- Tests like prostate specific antigen (PSA) help to detect risk of prostate cancer.
Colorectal or bowel cancer
Bowel or colorectal cancer is generally seen in elderly men and is increasingly common nowadays. It is also known as rectal or colon cancer. Early signs of bowel cancer show:
- Changes in bowel habits
- Difficulty in passing of stools
- Abdominal discomfort
Some risk factors of bowel cancer are as follows:
- Chronic bowel problems
- Faulty dietary habits
- High intake of processed meats
- Family history
Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting men as well. Uncontrolled growth of cancer cells in the skin causes skin cancer and if left untreated it can spread to other parts of the body. The most common symptoms if persists, should never be ignored are:
- Red patches on the skin
- Changes in a mole
- Bleeding or itching from a mole or a wart
- Unusual spots
- Any irregularities on skin
Know your risk for skin cancer by regular screenings and check your skin for any changes.
Important health screenings for men
Every man should opt for proper health checkups at regular intervals as medically advised. Don’t allow them to ignore their health. Here is a list of preventive health screenings and tests to detect early health risks in men:
- Testicular self-examination every month
- Complete physical examination with blood pressure checking
- Blood tests for lipid profile and blood sugar
- Stool test for rectal and colon cancer
- Screenings for various cancers affecting testicles, thyroid, lymph nodes, oral and skin
- Prostate specific antigen (PSA) test
- Digital rectal exam (DRE)
- Colonoscopy for colon cancers in aging men
Fathers are superheroes without the capes, but, even superheroes need looking after. By paying a little attention and making them aware of the health risks they might be exposed to, you are helping them lead a healthier and happier life, and what better gift for Father’s Day can there be than good health.
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