Like any machine, our body requires regular maintenance to make it last a long time and run well till end meets.
The problem with most men is that they will not head to hospital, unless there is some discomfort or pain and by then disease would have worsened. Most of the common diseases that affect men are potentially preventable, but one needs to undergo screening. Heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and dementia all share the same risk factors: smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and family history.
Leaving aside the basic set of tests like PSA, Blood sugar, Cholesterol, let’s explore what more men need to get screened for to lead a healthy and happy life.
Low Testosterone in Men
In men Testosterone production increases during puberty and starts to decrease after age 30. For each year over age 30, the level of testosterone in men starts to slowly dip at a rate of around 1 percent per year. Testosterone helps to maintain number of important bodily functions in men including sex drive, sperm production, muscle mass/strength, fat distribution, bone density and red blood cell production. So it’s decrease can bring about both physical and emotional changes. Depression also has been linked to men with low testosterone.
The low limit of testosterone levels in men is about 300 nanograms per deciliter and the upper normal limit is approximately 1000-1200 ng/dl.
Symptoms of low Testosterone include
Change in sleep patterns, Reduced sex drive (low libido), Sexual dysfunction, Infertility, Emotional changes, Decreased strength and Weight gain
A blood test for testosterone can reveal the amount of testosterone circulating in blood.
Testosterone supplementation is an option for men experiencing low testosterone. It can be delivered in several ways: injections into the muscle every few weeks; patches or gels applied to the skin; a patch that is applied inside the mouth; or pellets that are inserted under the skin of the buttocks.
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer. Men have a slightly higher risk of developing it than women
The majority of colon cancers slowly develop from colon polyps: growths on the inner surface of the colon. After cancer develops, it can invade or spread to other parts of the body. The way to prevent colon cancer is to find and remove polyps before they turn cancerous.
Screening begins at age 50 in average-risk adults
A stool test or a colonoscopy can detect this cancer
20% of people with osteoporosis are men
Osteoporosis is often thought of as a women’s disease. The reality is osteoporosis also affects men. Men in their fifties do not experience the rapid loss of bone mass that women do in the years following menopause. By age 65 or 70, however, men and women lose bone mass at the same rate, and the absorption of calcium, an essential nutrient for bone health throughout life, decreases. The most common cause of male osteoporosis is testosterone deficiency.
Osteoporosis can be effectively treated if it is detected before significant bone loss has occurred. Osteoporosis is diagnosed using x-rays, and urine and blood tests. The doctor may also order a bone mineral density test.
Bisphosphonates are potent antiresorptive agents and are the mainstay of pharmacotherapy for osteoporosis. Testosterone therapy is beneficial for men with osteoporosis. Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D should be encouraged in all men to maintain bone mass. Men should be educated regarding lifestyle measures, which include weight-bearing exercise, limiting alcohol consumption, and smoking cessation.
Do I Have Testicular Cancer
Men who notices lumps, swelling, or pain in their groin or scrotum should worry. Located inside the scrotum, the testicles are a loose bag of skin underneath the penis and are part of the male reproductive system. Typically, this cancer develops in one or both testicles (the testes) in young men, but it can occur in older men as well and in rare instance, in younger boys.
Common signs and symptoms of testicular cancer include
A swelling and/or lump in one or both of the testes. There may or may not be pain in the testes or scrotum
A heavy feeling in the scrotum
A dull pain or feeling of pressure in the lower belly or groin
Doctors recommend that all men should examine their testicles monthly after puberty. Anything abnormal is felt during self examination, head straight to doctor. An ultrasound will be done to confirm the case.
Treatment for testicular cancer involve surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or both.
Depression in Men
Both men and women get depression. But men experiences it differently than women. Men are more likely to feel very tired and irritable, and lose interest in their work, family, or hobbies. They may be more likely to have difficulty sleeping than women who have depression. Also women with depression are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to die by suicide. Unfortunately, as depression is seen as a female condition, men who are clinically depressed resist from recognizing the symptoms of depression and seeking treatment.
The three most commonly overlooked signs of depression in men are
Physical pain: Sometimes depression in men shows up as physical symptoms—such as backache, frequent headaches, sleep problems, sexual dysfunction, or digestive disorders—that don’t respond to normal treatment.
Anger: This could range from irritability, sensitivity to criticism, or a loss of your sense of humor to road rage, a short temper, or even violence. Some men become abusive or controlling.
Reckless behavior: A man suffering from depression may exhibit escapist or risky behavior such as pursuing dangerous sports, driving recklessly, or engaging in unsafe sex. You might drink too much, abuse drugs, or gamble compulsively.
The first step to treat depression is to visit a doctor or mental health professional and make family members aware of the health condition.
Both men and women can be treated successfully with antidepressant medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Although antidepressants can be safe and effective for many people, they may present serious risks to some, especially children, teens, and young adults.
Getting the right screening test at the right time is one of the most important things a man can do for his health . An early diagnosis will help to nip the disease completely.