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The 5 most common health issues affecting men — and how to minimize your risk

June 5th, 2023 | 4 min. read

By Jen Azevedo

Men have always been considered the stronger sex. They are bigger, more muscular, run faster, lift more, and throw things farther. 

Men may rule in the gym, but in medical terms, it is a different story. When it comes to health, men are the weaker sex

They suffer more heart problems, gout, hernias, kidney stones, bladder cancer, emphysema, and many other ailments compared to women. They also struggle with substance abuse more often. Not to mention that men, on average, die five years earlier than women.

The Paseo Club is a social club with fitness, court, and swimming facilities. We have supported members in their fitness and health journeys for almost twenty years.

June is National Men’s Health Month. In honor of men everywhere, we will share with you what health issues men face and how to optimize your health for a vibrant long life.

comp_IMG_0930 (2)The 5 most common health issues affecting men

Men face many challenges with their health. Factors that affect their risks are genetics, diet, and lifestyle. Some of these health issues cannot be easily detected, so you must see a health provider for proper screening.

1. Stroke

A stroke is when blood that goes to the brain is blocked, depriving the brain of oxygen and nutrients. Strokes can cause brain damage, long-term disability, and death. More than half of men (51%) have high blood pressure — and elevated blood pressure is the primary cause of stroke.  

Lower your risk: To keep your blood pressure in check…

  • Stop smoking
  • Keep a healthy weight.
  • Drink moderately (up to two drinks per day) — or not at all.
  • Eating a balanced diet, minimizing sugars and refined carbohydrates.
  • Stay physically active, integrating cardio and strength training into your weekly schedule.

2. Diabetes

Over one-third of men struggle with diabetes (37.4%). When you have diabetes, you have elevated blood sugar levels, potentially leading to serious damage to your heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. 

People with diabetes often need to take insulin or other medication to help their body break down sugars. 

 

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Lower your risk: To help prevent getting diabetes…

  • Stay physically active, integrating cardio and strength training into your weekly schedule.
  • Maintain a healthy weight because overweight people increase their risk of getting diabetes seven times. 
  • Minimize sweets and refined carbohydrates such as cookies, candy, soda, pastries, sweetened cereals, and white bread.
  • Eat a protein and vegetable-rich diet. Complex carbohydrates such as winter squash, fruit, legumes, and whole grains are also great additions.

3. Heart Disease

One in four men’s deaths are from heart disease. This statistic translates to 384,886 men dying from heart problems in 2021. It is the leading cause of death in the US. 

The scariest fact is half the men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms. This means you may still be at risk for heart disease — even if you have no signs.

Although we think of stress, anxiety, and anger as mental health issues, they also directly affect your heart health. These feelings increase blood pressure levels and stress hormones, and they can restrict blood flow to the heart. So managing your mental and emotional well-being is also critical to heart health.

Lower your risk: To help prevent getting heart disease…

  • Don’t smoke. 
  • Eat well at least 80% of the time.
  • Move your body regularly for cardio and strength training.
  • Practice stress reduction activities such as meditation, yoga, exercise, time in nature, and visiting with friends. 
  • Seek the support of a mental health professional if you struggle with feelings of depression, overwhelming stress, anxiety, anger, or thoughts of suicide.

 

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4. Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer that men get. It is also the second most common type of cancer-related death after lung cancer. It is more common in aging men and is twice as prevalent in African American men compared to white men.

Prostate cancer is difficult to detect without getting a check-up from your doctor. When caught early, prostate cancer is usually treatable. Early detection is the key. 

Lower your risk: To help lower your chance of getting prostate cancer…

  • Stay active
  • Eat healthily
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Increase your vitamin D because research shows it helps protect you from prostate cancer
  • Stay sexually active — men who have sex more frequently (solo or with a partner) are two-thirds less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. 

 

5. Depression and Suicide

People tend to think of depression as a woman’s issue. But men struggle with depression as much, if not more so, than women. It isn’t known what percentage of men suffer from depression because it often goes undiagnosed

Men tend to downplay their symptoms, not talk to friends about their struggles, rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drinking and overworking, and not get professional help. 

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, but men have a suicide rate roughly 3.5 times higher than women.

Lower your risk: To support your mental health…

  • Talk to a friend about your struggles
  • Seek an experienced therapist to talk to 
  • Minimize or eliminate tobacco, drinking, and drug use
  • Reach out to a mentor, spiritual leader, or elder for support
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle with adequate rest, a good diet, and regular physical activity
  • Take time to do the things you love, whether playing an instrument, participating in a basketball game with your buddies, writing, hosting Dungeons and Dragons night, or anything else that brings you joy.

 

cropped_compressedIMG_9700  (1) (2)How to better care for yourself

Men and women have different biological, social, and behavioral factors that affect their health. Understanding men’s unique needs and risks are essential to being healthy and lowering the chance of disease and early death.

Men must not only make sure to eat a healthy diet and exercise, but they also must take care of their mental health. This begins with rejecting the stigma of feeling depressed, anxious, or stressed and seeking support from friends, mentors, or professionals.

Screening for heart disease, high blood pressure, and prostate cancer is also imperative for early detection, which leads to more successful treatment. 

In this article, you learned the five most common health issues men face and how to lower their risks and boost their overall health.

The Paseo Club offers over 60 fitness classes each week, from calming yoga to high-intensity LIFT. We also have tennis and pickleball courts, a junior Olympic swimming pool, a cafe, and an onsite spa.
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We know that community and social connections are important to being healthy. That is why we designed the Paseo Club to be a home away from home. Join us for a fundraiser event, a social gathering, or a sporty competition. We have something for you!

If you have not seen our club, schedule a tour of the Paseo Club today! You can meet members, staff, and instructors.

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Read these three articles to learn more about classes at the Paseo Club. 

 

 

Jen Azevedo

Jen Azevedo is a tennis professional, pickleball professional, personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and the general manager of the Paseo Club. She loves the community at the Paseo Club and that it is also a safe and fun place for her daughter. Jen’s favorite activities are joining her tribe for trail races or her partners for tennis matches. Occasionally Jen slows down to relax with a book — she reads over 100 a year!