Three medication pills, a bottle of medicine, and a bandaid side by side

Top 5 Male Health Problems

By Arlett Ramirez
Assistant Web Content Manager

International Men’s Day (IMD) is celebrated on Nov. 19 and it promotes the positive values that men bring to their families, communities and the world. This day also brings awareness to issues that men face. 

Did you know that women outlive men in almost every society? In developed countries, the average life expectancy for women is 79 years and for men it’s 72 years. So what gives? Why are women outliving men? 

According to Healthline, the reason women are outliving men is because the lack of education and awareness and an unhealthy and personal lifestyle, all of these have caused a deterioration in men’s health in America. These are the top five health risks for men in America. 

1.Heart Disease 

According to the American Heart Association, more than one in three adult men have a form of cardiovascular disease. African-American men make up for 100,000 more cardiovascular disease deaths than Caucasian men. 

Heavy drinking and smoking are some of the biggest risk factors for heart disease but there are some lesser known risk factors that are equally important to know. Anti-inflammatory pain relievers or large amounts of calcium from supplements can also cause heart disease in men. 

Exercise, a nutritious diet and managing stress can help in cardiovascular health. Men should exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week. Men who are stressed-out tend to eat more and exercise less.

2. Lung Cancer

According to the American Lung Association, each year more men are diagnosed with and develop lung cancer than in years past. It’s the second most common cancer in both men and women. In 2019, the American Cancer Society reported 142,670 male deaths from lung cancer. 

Smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer – it’s linked to about 80% to 90% of cancer deaths. But smoking doesn’t just cause lung cancer. It can cause other types like: 

  • Mouth and throat
  • Esophagus
  • Stomach
  • Colon
  • Rectum
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Voicebox (larynx)
  • Trachea 
  • Bronchus 
  • Kidney and renal pelvis
  • Urinary bladder
  • Cervix 
  • Acute myeloid leukemia 

3. Alcohol 

Shelves of tequila, gin and rum
Alcohol is a huge risk factor for many male health issues. Image via Creative Commons.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, men face higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations. Men are more likely to binge drink twice as much as women. Just like smoking, alcohol can cause many types of cancer like: 

  • Mouth
  • Throat
  • Esophagus
  • Liver 
  • Colon 

Not only can it cause cancer, alcohol can interfere with testicular function and hormone production.

4. Depression

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that at least 6 million men suffer from depressive disorders as well as suicidal thoughts annually. Clinical depression was once considered a “woman’s disease” and many men still believe that it is. 

This keeps men who do suffer from depression from recognizing symptoms and seeking treatment. The symptoms of depression are the same for men and women.

One of the reasons men don’t recognize depression is that they deny having problems because they’re supposed to “be strong”. The American culture suggests that men expressing emotions is a feminine trait causing men to share physical symptoms of depression rather than emotional. 

Men are less likely to show more “typical” signs of depression such as sadness. Men who are depressed may hide their feelings instead of expressing them. This suppression of emotions may appear as irritability and aggression. 

5. Liver Disease

The liver helps digest food and absorb nutrients. It also does a very important job of ridding your body of toxic substances. Like I said before, alcohol can cause liver cancer but that’s not the only thing that alcohol can cause. It can also cause other conditions like cirrhosis, bile duct cancer and alcoholic liver disease. Alcohol isn’t the only risk factor. The use of tobacco has been linked to these conditions as well. 

Some signs and symptoms of liver disease are: 

  • Skin and eyes that appear yellowish
  • Itchy skin
  • Swelling in the legs and ankles
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tendency to bruise easily

These are the five top health issues men in America face. This IMD make sure to look around in the men in your life to see if they’re healthy. A healthy man is a happy man.

Featured image by Arlett Ramirez via Canva.

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