Men's health: Critical symptoms that should never be ignored

This Men’s Health Awareness Month, here is an essential guide to health signs and symptoms that men must not ignore
Image used for representational purposes only.
Image used for representational purposes only.(Express Illustrations)

BENGALURU: Health is a valuable asset, and taking care of it should be a lifelong commitment. Men often neglect their health amidst the demands of daily life, overlooking warning signs that should not be ignored. Proactively seeking medical advice for any persistent or unusual symptoms can lead to early detection of potential health issues and improve outcomes. Here are some critical symptoms that men must not ignore:

Chest discomfort or pain: This is one of the most common signs that men should never ignore. While often associated with heart-related issues, chest pain can have various causes. Ignoring this symptom could be life-threatening. Any form of chest discomfort warrants immediate medical attention to rule out serious conditions.

Shortness of breath: Shortness of breath can indicate underlying health issues, both respiratory and cardiovascular. Attention should be paid to sudden or persistent breathlessness, especially during physical activities or at rest. It could signal conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – more so in smokers – or even a pulmonary embolism.

Unexplained weight loss or gain: Significant and unexplained weight loss or gain can indicate potential health problems that require attention. Sudden weight loss may be associated with underlying conditions such as cancer, hyperthyroidism, or digestive disorders. Conversely, unexplained weight gain could be linked to hormonal imbalances or metabolic issues.

Fatigue and lethargy: Feeling excessively tired, fatigued, or lacking energy regularly is not normal and should not be ignored. Persistent fatigue can be a sign of various conditions, including anaemia, depression, sleep apnea, or thyroid problems. Identifying the underlying cause and addressing it is crucial to restoring energy levels and overall well-being.

Changes in bowel habits: Significant changes in bowel habits should be noted. Persistent diarrhoea, constipation, or blood in the stool may indicate gastrointestinal issues or even colon cancer. Timely intervention can lead to better outcomes and potentially save lives.

Frequent urination or blood in the urine: Urinary symptoms such as increased frequency, urgency, or blood in the urine should never be ignored. These signs may indicate conditions such as urinary tract infections, kidney stones, or even prostate problems, including prostate cancer. Early detection and treatment are crucial for managing these conditions effectively and preventing potential complications.

Persistent back pain: Back pain is a prevalent complaint, but if it persists for an extended period or is accompanied by other symptoms, it should not be disregarded.

Persistent back pain can be indicative of spinal problems, kidney issues, or other underlying conditions that require medical evaluation.

Mental health: Work and the workplace significantly affect employees’ mental health, either favourably or unfavourably. Thirty-two per cent of men have experienced a mental health issue or poor mental health due to work, and only a small percentage seek professional help. The issue is also often stigmatised. Societal pressures are immense, but this barrier must be broken.


The information provided on this page is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the help of a medical professional regarding any health condition

(The writer is senior director, Medical Oncology and Hemato-Oncology, Fortis Hospitals, Richmond Road)

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