June is Men’s Health Month and while guys typically have a tough time discussing health issues, the experts at Mercy Medical Center have tips to help you start those conversations with your physician. Research shows socio-cultural stigmas can lead men to ignore symptoms or refuse heart-and-vascular treatment, resulting in serious health issues that are often preventable if diagnosed early.
The leading cause of death among men in the United States is heart disease - that’s about 1 in every 4 male deaths, and half of those men who die from heart disease had no previous symptoms. If you have any of the following lifestyle factors, you are at a higher risk for heart disease:
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive alcohol use
“Understanding your risk factors is the best way to decrease your chances of getting heart disease,” says Dr. Sumesh Jain, Interventional Cardiologist with Dignity Health Medical Group — Merced. “Talk to your doctor about setting a plan to maintain a healthy weight, active lifestyle, and regularly checking your cholesterol and blood pressure.”
Diabetes affects 1 in 10 Americans. Type 2 diabetes can increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, kidney failure, and limb amputations. While men and women are both affected by diabetes, the risks and side effects are different among men. Some male-specific side effects include:
- Urinary tract infections
- Overactive bladder
- Erectile dysfunction - caused by low testosterone
- Male incontinence
If you have diabetes and have these symptoms, talk to your doctor about finding the right medication and treatment. If you have not been diagnosed with diabetes and have these symptoms, talk to your primary care provider about having a blood sugar exam.
Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States and is one of the leading cancers among men. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, though people who have never smoked can also get lung cancer. It's recommended that men who meet the following criteria to be screened for lung cancer:
- Current smokers or those who quit in past 15 years
- Between the ages of 50 to 80
- Have a 20 year or more smoking history
Identify your lung cancer risk factors and learn if lung cancer screening is recommended for you by taking this Lung Cancer Risk Assessment.
Depression affects both men and women. However, men are more likely to ignore symptoms or refuse treatment. If left untreated, depression can have devastating consequences that can affect daily life. Here are some common signs that you may be experiencing depression:
- Feeling extremely tired
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Lack of interest in pleasurable activities
- Constantly feeling hopeless, anxious, or worried
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, reach out to a close friend or family member and let them know how you’ve been feeling. Consider joining a support group, or make an appointment with your primary care doctor to discuss your symptoms.
Prostate cancer is the leading cancer among men in the United States but is treatable if diagnosed early. If you have the following symptoms, talk to your doctor about a screening:
- Difficulty starting urination
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Urinating often
- Trouble emptying bladder
- Pain in back, pelvis, hips that doesn’t get better
“Having a family history of prostate cancer can increase your risk,” says Varinder Sablok, NP, with Dignity Health Medical Group — Merced. “Talk to your provider about your family’s health history and discuss if a screening is suitable for you.”
We know these conversations can be difficult, but our team of specialists are here to listen to your concerns and help you live your best life. Take the first step and schedule a visit with one of our Dignity Health physicians by calling 209-564-3700 or by visiting dignityhealth.org/Merced.
Content Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/.