It is well known that men are much less likely than women to seek basic or routine preventative medical care. However, there are certain common men’s health problems that are treatable if caught early enough but can be permanently debilitating or even fatal if they are not detected until symptoms make themselves known. Common issues of this type include heart disease, prostate problems, and hypertension. These are all potentially silent killers that can be prevented or treated if detected early enough.
Heart disease is the most common killer of both men and women in America. In the U.S., an estimated 61.8 million people live with cardiovascular disease. The sad fact is that most Americans eat high-fat diets and do not exercise much if at all. This leads to high cholesterol levels that can block the crucial cardiac arteries causing heart muscle failure or can lead to blood clots elsewhere in the body that can progress to the heart and cause a heart attack. Fortunately, if heart disease is detected before major damage to the heart muscle has occurred then treatments are available.
Lifestyle changes are the first line of defense in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Medical interventions range from drugs to surgery. Taking medication and following a physician-approved program of diet and exercise means that men can live a long and full life, even with heart disease.
The statistics on prostate cancer are grim. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer, excluding skin cancers, in American men. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that during 2006 about 234,460 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. It is estimated that eighty percent of men who reach the age of eighty will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
As Americans continue to live longer lives, the overall impact of prostate cancer is becoming more prevalent. Fortunately, prostate cancer is easily treated if it is detected early in the disease’s progression. For this reason, men over the age of forty must receive annual prostate examinations.
Typically, the progression of prostate cancer is quite slow, and many people can live with the disease for years without experiencing any symptoms.
Some of prostate cancer symptoms:
- Increase in urination frequency, especially at night.
- Difficulty in starting urination with a painful or burning sensation
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in urine or semen
- Pain or stiffness in the back, hips, or upper thighs
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is often called “the silent killer” because it is usually asymptomatic until a heart attack or stroke occurs. For this reason, everyone should receive regular blood pressure screenings regardless of age or sex. If caught early enough, hypertension can be treated via medication and/or by a change in lifestyle.
Until next time,