Male bodies are at risk for their own distinct health issues such as erectile dysfunction and prostate cancer, and they also experience health issues differently than female bodies. We’ve written before about the fact that men are less likely than women to address or investigate a perceived problem with their health. They are also less likely to attend regular check-ups with their doctors.
If you have men in your life that you care for, then you can support their overall health by understanding their unique health risks, helping them learn about common risk factors, and encouraging them to create healthy habits. Here are seven health issues that you should strive to understand to support the men in your life in the best way that you can.
Research suggests that obesity is two times more dangerous for men than it is for women. A study of almost four million men and women worldwide demonstrated that the risk of death before age 70 increases by 30 percent for obese men, but only 15 percent for obese women. Encourage the men in your life to maintain a healthy diet and regular physical activity for longevity.
Both men and women can develop heart disease, but men’s hearts are more likely to stop suddenly than women’s hearts. According to a new study, around one in nine men suffer cardiac arrest before the age of 70, compared to one in 30 women. Men tend to develop heart disease earlier than women, increasing their risk of cardiac arrest, so men need to get screened for cardiac arrest risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol to mitigate their risk.
Yes, women are more at risk of developing osteoporosis earlier on in life, but around the age of 65, both male and female bodies lose bone density at the same rate. Smoking and alcohol consumption contribute to the weakening of bones, while weight-bearing exercise like walking and dancing, as well as vitamin intake, can help prevent osteoporosis. Set an example for the men in your life by ensuring that you consume the appropriate amount of calcium and vitamin D for your age range—everyone will benefit!
There are plenty of misconceptions about erectile dysfunction (ED), so if your partner is experiencing ED, the best way you can offer support is to educate yourself on the condition. It affects almost one in ten men and is normally treatable with medication, therapy, surgery, or sexual aids. Communication plus a positive and open attitude is of utmost importance to support your partner’s health, both physical and emotional.
One in six men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, and while it may stay confined to the prostate, it can spread to lymph nodes, organs, and bones. To help the men in your life avoid this health issue, make sure that they get an annual physical, and a baseline PSA blood test and rectal exam once they hit 40. Symptoms to look out for are problems with urination, erections, and back or hip pain.
Due to societal expectations that are pushed on men from a young age, they tend to be less willing than women to speak about or even acknowledge their emotions, making their depressive symptoms more difficult to identify. Men may cover up their more vulnerable feelings through anger and irritability, exercise, excessive work, or risky behavior like drinking or gambling. Men are also more likely than women to attempt suicide and succeed. Be sure to always listen, offer support, and encourage him to reach out to a professional if you notice that they are engaging in self-destructive behaviors or making suicidal comments.
According to a study by the Skin Cancer Foundation, only 51 percent of American men used sunscreen in the last year, and 70 percent didn’t know the warning signs of skin cancer. To help men (and yourself) reduce the risk of skin cancer, make sure you know and practice the simple lifestyle changes you can make, like avoiding being in the direct sun between ten in the morning and four in the evening, wearing clothing that blocks UV rays, and applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher every day.