Chad Sievers, PA Talks Top 5 Men’s Health Issues
Miles City, MT - Do you remember the time your wife urged you to go to the doctor but you wouldn’t go? Inevitably, whatever ailment you had got considerably worse which forced you to seek medical attention, but maybe even more detrimental, you had to tell your wife, “You were right.” Men are less likely than women to seek medical attention and see a doctor on a regular basis. Unfortunately, this does not mean that we are healthier. Despite what we may think, we are not superhuman and we can have ailments. Luckily, there are some actionable steps to control our health. So, let’s go ahead and take a look at 5 common men’s health issues:
Cardiovascular Disease: The leading cause of death in the United States is cardiovascular disease, which is also true for men. In 2019 there were 357,601 deaths due to heart disease and this accounted for 1 in 4 deaths among men. Half of these gentlemen did not have any symptoms (chest pain, shortness of breath, feeling tired with exercise) before they had a heart attack. Even if you feel completely healthy, 1 in 13 men have some amount of plaque in the vessels of the heart. This can be concerning, but there are things you can do to protect yourself. Talk to your healthcare provider about your cardiovascular risk and ask to get a cholesterol panel or labs to discuss this further. One of the biggest ways we can reduce your risk is by changing your lifestyle including not smoking, increasing activity, and eating a healthy diet. All of these can reduce the chance of having a heart attack.
Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes has been on the rise for the last 20 years all over the globe. Over one-third of the population has pre-diabetes and leads to 1 in 10 people having type 2 diabetes. A number of issues can arise with this diagnosis including numbness in your extremities, vision loss, stroke, and erectile dysfunction. The largest risk though, is cardiovascular. Those with type 2 diabetes have the same risk of having a heart attack as someone who has already had one. With routine screening and regular checkups, there are steps to help prevent this from happening. The best tool we have for combating type 2 diabetes is exercise and a healthy diet. Experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise weekly and to eat a diet of fruits, veggies, and lean meats. Next time you see your healthcare provider ask about diabetes screening with an A1C and talk about ways to increase activity and eat better.
Mental Health: Mental health can be a hard issue to talk about, especially as men. I know a lot of us can bottle things up and not seek help until it is too late. Untreated depression and anxiety can cause significant problems with family, friends, and work. In the United States, suicide remains the seventh leading cause of death and men are almost four times more likely to die by suicide than women. There is a large stigma around depression and anxiety among men but it is okay to ask for help. If you are having any issues with excessive worry, irritability, or sadness please talk with your primary care provider or reach out to Montana Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK or text “MT” to 741 741.
Prostate Cancer: Many men may worry about prostate cancer. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States and prostate cancer among men is quite common. 13 out of 100 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime and 2-3 of those men will die from it. Having a first-degree family member and older age increase your risk of developing prostate cancer. We recommend discussing the need for PSA screening for men 55 to 69 years old. Talk to your healthcare provider about your risk and if PSA screening is right for you.
Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis, commonly referred to as “regular arthritis,” is something many men have encountered. This happens when joints degenerate over time. Many people will not have any symptoms, but for others, it can cause significant pain. It can be located anywhere in the body with a joint including the back, hands, knees, and hips. About 19% of men have arthritis and this is expected to rise over the next 20 years. The largest risk factors for developing arthritis are age (which we can’t change), poor movement, and obesity. Fortunately, there are ways to improve your aches and pains. Regular exercise helps improve strength, movement patterns, and can decrease pain. Also, a healthy diet can lead to weight loss which reduces stress on joints. If you have already been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, talk to your doctor about possible medications and ways to increase movement.
Taking control of your health is an important part of improving your life and wellbeing. Many of the common health issues men face can be prevented or reduced by good lifestyle choices. Eating a diet of whole foods rich in vegetables, fruits, and lean meats does not only make you feel better, but helps you lose weight. Regular exercise daily can improve a number of ailments and reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and pain from arthritis. So, if you don’t want your wife to tell you, “I told you so,” call your healthcare provider and schedule an appointment for a checkup and discuss some of the common health issues among men.
Chad Sievers, PA, is an advanced practice professional at SCL Health – Holy Rosary Healthcare Clinic. Schedule an appointment online or by calling 406-233-2500.
SCL Health is a faith-based, nonprofit healthcare organization dedicated to improving the health of the people and communities we serve. Founded by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in 1864, our health network provides comprehensive, coordinated care through eight hospitals, more than 180 physician clinics, home health, hospice, mental health, and safety-net services in Colorado and the Montana Wyoming region.