Apart from the obvious physiological differences, perhaps the biggest health care challenge for men is creating the habit of regular visits. Checkups aren’t only for women, and many conditions and diseases may be caught early or prevented outright due to regular medical attention. Many men typically resist medical visits until symptoms get in the way of daily life. Preventive health care, a priority at Aspen Family Care, includes regular checkups, chronic disease management, and education that promotes wellness. Dealing with minor issues early often prevents major conditions from taking hold.
As men age, several health conditions interact. High blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes may develop independently or in association with each other. For example, diabetics are more likely to develop heart disease, as well as developing more severe heart conditions, that may occur at a younger age. Cholesterol management is typically a treatment that benefits each of these conditions. Lifestyle choices that compromise health, such as smoking, excessive drug and alcohol use, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, and inadequate exercise, all may affect men.
Stress and depression often are self-stigmatized, and men who suffer from these tend not to seek help, even though mental health is an important part of any person’s overall wellbeing. Men also have some unique cancer concerns that require screening. Timing, frequency, and type of screening can vary depending of an individual’s personal risk factors.
Prostate cancer is the most prevalent form, accounting for about 25% of all cancers in men annually. Lung cancer accounts for half that amount, but often proves more deadly, and about 80% of those deaths stem from cigarette smoking. Colorectal cancer accounts for over 73,000 cases annually, typically occurring after the age of 50. Men over 70 and men having any history of smoking have a greater risk of bladder cancer.
Skin cancers are the most common cancers when men and women are combined. Though melanoma is a less common skin cancer, it accounts for the most deaths of all skin cancers. Other cancers in the top 10 for men include kidney cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, mouth and throat cancer, leukemia, and pancreatic cancer.
With time there continues to be advances in medicine to decrease cancer risk, detect cancers earlier, and provide treatment plans based on specifics genetics of cancers. The next generation of men will experience a decreased risk of mouth and throat cancers due to vaccinations done today in adolescence and early adulthood to protect against a virus that can cause these cancers. Regular health maintenance exams are key for decreasing risk and early detection.