Championing men’s health week

On the occasion of International Men’s Health Week, CE talks to experts about the diseases that men are more prone to
Championing men’s health week

HYDERABAD : As proven by numerous health studies, women tend to live longer than men. One contributing factor is men’s tendency to neglect their health. “When you look at men and their relationship with physicians, men don’t go to the doctor enough. They wait until something is wrong,” says Dr Rahul Agarwal, Consultant Internal Medicine at CARE Hospitals. To address this issue, National Men’s Health Week is observed every year from June 10 to June 16, ahead of Father’s Day, to remind men to make healthy lifestyle choices and seek care as soon as possible.

When we talk about men’s health, many people think of age-related conditions like prostate cancer or an enlarged prostate. However, cancer and heart disease are among the top health risks for men, alongside diabetes, lung illness, stroke, and injury. While not all these conditions can be entirely prevented, adopting a balanced diet and engaging in regular exercise can help mitigate the risks.

As men age, their health concerns often change. For instance, many men gain weight as they get older, which can be problematic, especially if the weight is primarily abdominal fat. Other concerns include male menopause and declining testosterone levels after age 40, which can affect sexual function and desire.

Dr Rahul Agarwal said that waiting has the drawback that a man may fail to notice the warning signs of another health problem. For instance, one prevalent condition that drives men to the doctor is erectile dysfunction.

“It’s important for men to know, especially younger men who have erectile dysfunction, that this condition is often associated with other medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure problems, and the like. So erectile dysfunction may not just be erectile dysfunction,” he explains.

To maintain a healthy lifestyle, men should avoid risky behaviours such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and unsafe sexual practices. Managing conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol is crucial. Men should also keep up with recommended vaccinations and health screenings appropriate for their age.

Dr Rajesh Vukkala, Chief Consultant Internal Medicine at Renova Hospitals, advises annual health screenings starting at age 30, especially for those with stressful lifestyles, poor sleep, unhealthy diets, and habits like smoking and drinking. Comprehensive health screenings should include assessments of vital organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys, as well as general blood parameters like sugar levels, thyroid function, essential vitamins, and minerals.

For men aged 40 to 60, screenings should focus on diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, and cancers prevalent in the family. For men over 60, the focus should shift to age-related issues such as prostate health, bone density, skin care, mental health, and sleep disturbances. “Following these recommendations can improve men’s life expectancy and well-being, potentially surpassing women’s,” Dr Rajesh Vukkala concludes.

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