Data suggests that fewer men go to the doctor compared to women. For some, their first instinct may be to tough it out or disregard symptoms that could be important. Whatever your reasons, know that being healthy for your family is one of the manliest things you can do.
Being healthy takes time and effort but ultimately pays off. When it comes to your health, you call the shots. Get to work with support from your healthcare provider and your care team. Here are six surprising facts about men's health and what you can do to stay healthy:
1. Compared to women, men are more likely to be overweight
Having excess weight increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease. As a man, you're also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes at a lower weight than women. Determining your body mass index (BMI) is the first step. It measures body fat based on weight and height. A healthy BMI is between 25-29.9. With this simple tool, you can calculate your BMI and determine whether you're within a healthy range. This tool is a valuable measure but does not diagnose conditions. Talk to your provider about your BMI.
2. Men are twice as likely to have hearing loss
Men between 20 and 69 are twice as likely as women to experience hearing loss. That could be due to previous career and lifestyle choices. Hearing problems that are ignored or untreated can get worse. If your hearing is not as sharp as it used to be, it's time to see a doctor. Your family doctor may be able to diagnose and treat your hearing problem or refer you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Most providers recommend a hearing check at 50 and regular assessments as needed.
3. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men
Despite a decline in heart disease rates in recent years, it remains the leading cause of death for men. Some risk factors, such as genetics, cannot be changed, but there are things you can control to reduce your risk. Maintain a healthy weight and eat foods low in saturated and trans fats and salt. High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Quit smoking, drink alcohol in moderation, and stay active to help reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
4. Men under 55 are more prone to hypertension than women
High blood pressure, or hypertension, refers to a higher than normal blood pressure. Blood pressure can change during the day, but if it stays above 139/89 mmHg for too long, it may be a sign of hypertension. As it usually has no symptoms, the only way to know if you have it is through regular blood pressure checks. Before age 55, men are more likely to develop hypertension than women.
5. Men have a 1 in 2 chance of developing cancer during their lifetime
It's a fact that men are more likely to get cancer in their lifetime. Experts have long believed that traditional factory jobs, where toxins are common, can contribute to their higher risk. Between 45-50, you should test for prostate, lung, and colon cancer. Talk to your doctor if you have difficulty peeing or swallowing, notice blood in your stool, or lose weight without trying.
6. Men are more likely to develop mouth cancer
Mouth cancer rates are higher for men because men have been more likely to smoke in the past than women. Poor oral hygiene could also be a factor. Experts recommend flossing frequently and brushing at least twice daily. It's not too late to stop smoking and limit alcohol use.
Just because men are at higher risk for many serious diseases doesn't mean they can't be proactive about their health. If you're younger than 65 with chronic conditions, you should visit your doctor once a year. On the flip side, if you're a healthy adult aged 25-64, you can skip annual checkups but should still see your doctor every two years. Your doctor can help you monitor your weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Make an appointment for a physical exam with your St. Luke's Health primary care provider today and stay up to date with your vaccines.