By Dr. Trina Ting
In keeping with Father’s Day being in the month of June, let’s shine a light on men’s health this month. Canada actually recognizes June as Men’s Health Month, as an initiative to encourage men to go through a health checkup to avoid chronic illness. 70% of men’s typical health issues stem from preventable causes, such as lifestyle changes. Small changes and questions can make the biggest difference.
What are the things men need to look out for? How can we help the men we love and care for, be healthier? Here’s a list of conditions men are more prone to experiencing, and as such should be monitored for in their medical check ups. As always, discuss this with your trusted health care professional.
Stroke – Any personal history of stroke or brain aneurysm? Have your parents suffered from these? Stroke is a leading cause of death in men, and those with African and Hispanic backgrounds have higher rates of stroke. The good news is that many strokes are preventable with lifestyle changes
Obstructive Sleep Apnea – This prevents oxygen from flowing to the brain while sleeping, increasing the risk of stroke and heart disease. Sleep studies can be ordered by your family physician
Depression/Anxiety/Mental Illness/ Substance Abuse – Have you ever experienced depression, panic attacks or anxiety? Men are also more likely to suffer from substance abuse issues, and generally less likely to seek mental health services.
Head Injury/Concussion – Data suggests that in people under the age of 75, men are more likely to sustain a traumatic brain injury than women.
Heart and Blood
Heart Attacks: Men are 2x more likely to suffer a heart attack than women in Canada. They also are newly diagnosed with heart disease on average 10 years younger than their female counterparts.
Diabetes: Adult men are more at risk of Type II diabetes compared to women. Ensure they are getting their glucose levels measured on a regular basis as recommended by their family physician. In general, diabetes (both types) is more prevalent in men than women across Canada.
Blood Pressure: Men have higher blood pressure than women across all ages, and are more prone to hypertension.
Cholesterol: Men aged 40-59 have higher rates of elevated bad cholesterol levels.
Stomach/Below The Belt
Colon/GI Issues: According to the Canadian Cancer Society, 1 in 16 men will be diagnosed with colon cancer and 1 in 34 will die from it. Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis seems to affect women and men equally.
Waist Size: Waist size greater than 40 inches for men (35 inches for women) is linked to higher risk for diabetes and heart disease. Measure your waist at the level of your belly button to find out.
Prostate Health: Unique to the male category of health, prostate health is of utmost importance, as over 50% of men aged 51-60 have benign prostate hyperplasia (enlarged prostate), and that number jumps to 80% over the age of 70. A physical exam and blood work is how it is diagnosed, and there are a range of treatment options. While benign (non-cancerous), BPH can affect lifestyle due to affecting urinary flow and output. The bloodwork is the same as screening for prostate cancer, so it is important to have this done starting at age 50 (you may start earlier if your doctor recommends it).
Bones and Joints
Back Pain: While low back pain seem to affect men and women equally, disc herniations affect most often men between their third and fifth decades of life (20s-40s), 2:1 to women. Chiropractic care has been show by multiple well regarded scientific studies to help ease and manage non-specific back pain
Arthritis: Men seem to experience certain types of arthritis more than women, specifically gout and ankylosing spondylitis. While all types of arthritis are debilitating and can result in diminished quality of life, these types of arthritis are particularly disfiguring to the joints they target. If you or your loved in experiencing a lot of joint pain in various parts or even one part of your body, talk to us about it. Chiropractors are highly skilled in diagnosing joint and nerve issues, and we will not hesitate to refer back to your medical doctor for further testing if the issue requires medical imaging and interventions.
Knees and Feet
Knees: Nearly half of men over the age of 70 have knee pain. This chronic knee pain is shown to be linked to accelerated muscle loss and strength, being unable to move as well during daily activities, increasing the likeliness of falling, and a generally diminished quality of life. Knee pain should not be ignored!
Feet: While more women than men generally report foot pain (one suspects due to the symptoms that women experience more such as pain in the ball of the foot, that it’s due to wearing more types of dress shoes), men can experience painful conditions such as plantar fasciitis and gout as equally.
These are just a fraction of health issues that men should be paying attention to, and the statistics around their biological sex that increases their risk for certain conditions. We hope that this brings you some information to help keep you or the men in your life safe. An ounce of prevention is truly worth that pound of cure, and it’s especially clear when examining the sex-based differences in medical conditions.