JUNE IS MEN’S HEALTH MONTH
I am excited to talk about Men’s Health this month. This month is to raise awareness of preventable diseases and measures men can take to stay healthy and live long. It may be long but I hope you finish reading it and pass it on.
-Men live five years less than women
-9 out of the 10 top causes of death affect Men at a higher rate than women.
-1 in 2 men will develop cancer
-Men have higher death rates than women in diseases like Cancers, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Suicide and mental health issues, Respiratory infections, HIV/AIDS, Road injury, unintentional injuries and Cirrhosis of the liver.
-Men make about 50% less visits to healthcare providers for preventive health Vs women.
Preventative health measures
Majority of these disease and deaths can be avoided by measures which include:
1. Life Style Changes
-Exercise: 150 minutes a week which can be split up during the day. Walking is the cheapest one
-Healthy Diet: less red meat, less fried foods, more fish, vegetables, whole grains, fiber and fruits
-Stop smoking which is associated with many cancers and chronic lung diseases
-Alcohol in moderation. No more than 2 drinks per day. Excess can lead to liver disease
-Lose weight if overweight or obese
-Cut back on soft drinks/soda/sugary drinks
2. Reduce stress and don’t ignore anxiety or depression. Get help if these are chronic
3. Take medications as ordered and follow up with your doctor regularly for checkups
4. Go for checkup and blood work at least once a year so any problem can be detected.
Conditions affecting the Genital system
a) SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS: These need to be treated since they can cause long term effects and spread to sexual partners. Use of condoms may prevent some of them.
b) PROSTATE CANCER: Not all prostate cancers may lead to death. Some are slow growing; however blacks tend to get more aggressive forms. If you are over 40 years discuss PSA blood testing and prostate exam with your doctor.
c) BENIGN PROSTATIC HYPERPLASIA (BPH): This is a result of an enlarged prostate which causes urinary symptoms like frequency, urgency, feelings of incomplete emptying and getting up several times at night to urinate. See a doctor for examination and treatment.
d) TESTICULAR CANCER: This is common in men from 20-40 years. Testicular self-exam in the shower after an initial exam by a Doctor will give one confidence to do regular testicular self-examination
e) HYPOGONADISM: Low testosterone (LOW T) levels. Testosterone is the main male sex chemical which gives male characteristics. It naturally decreases with age, predominantly after 50 years, however low levels may present in the 30/40s aged males. Symptoms may be general like fatigue, low energy, weight gain, low muscle mass; or more specific ones like enlarged breasts, reduced sex drive (low libido), reduction in size of testicles and semen, and erectile dysfunction. Mood changes may occur including depression, anxiety, and stress. Factors leading to younger males experiencing LOW T levels include Obesity, Diabetes, and Metabolic Syndrome. Measurement of blood testosterone levels and replacement, if low, may help with many of these symptoms.
f) ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION (ED): This is a distressing situation for those who suffer from it, but there is Hope. The causes are multifactorial and include: Infections, injury, heart and blood vessel diseases, Diabetes, Hypertension, Chronic kidney disease, medications like some BP medicines and Antidepressants, and illegal drugs like cocaine, Marijuana etc. Excessive tobacco and alcohol use as well. A condition where the Penis is curved (Peyronie’s disease), prostate cancer treatment including surgery or radiation therapy and nerve damage from many conditions like Diabetes, and Alcoholism. Heavy metal poisoning from Mercury and Lead may also be causes. Finally psychological issues may be a cause.
See a doctor for a frank discussion so that an exam, blood, urine and ultrasound tests are ordered.
TREATMENT for ED:
This include medications like Viagra (sildenafil) or Cialis (Tadalafil), OR assistive devices e.g. pump inserted into the scrotum, manual pumps, small wearable devices e.g. “Eddie”, and injectables like alprostadil or its tablet form placed inside the tip of the penis.
This is vital. This includes weight loss, eating healthy, physical activity, quit smoking, decrease alcohol intake, stop illegal drugs, (e.g. cocaine and marijuana, and ensuring your relationship with one’s sexual partner is healthy. One should seek psychological help if needed.
I trust that MEN, as you read about Men’s Health this Month, will take the needed steps to improve your health. Ladies please share with the men who matter to you, so they can take charge of their Health.
Please share with others on your social media handles
Dr. Barbara Entsuah MD MHSc. Fellow GCPS, Author and Speaker