The man in your life: His biggest health issues
While most men would grudgingly admit that annual checkups and screening tests are the smart thing to do, they often seem to go out of their way to avoid the doctor’s office. But if your favorite men treated their bodies as well as they would a prized sports car – taking them in for routine maintenance or calling in a pro at the slightest sign of trouble—they’d be much more likely to live longer and run smoother.
The heart of the matter for many men is cardiac disease, especially for those 55 and older. Stress, such as that caused by the current economic crunch, can play a big role in heart disease, as well as smoking (including secondhand smoke), a high-fat diet, obesity and excessive alcohol consumption.
“Anyone with a family history of heart disease or hypertension and stroke needs to be extra cautious,” says Dr. Mitchell Janasek, family medicine physician at the Banner Health Center in Loveland, Colo. “The earlier in life one starts taking precautions and gets regular check-ups, the better it is in the long run.”
At the top of the list for men’s health screenings are prostate issues. Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among men. Health experts estimate that one in seven will experience it, and one in 27 will die from it. And while lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among men --mostly from cigarette smoking -- prostate cancer is growing more quickly due to unhealthy eating habits, higher obesity rates, and lack of daily physical activity for many men.
Dr. Janasek recommends that men with problems urinating make an appointment with their doctor. “Men who are over 40, or have a family history, are at risk for prostate cancer,” he explains. There have been recent changes in prostate cancer screening recommendations that are worth discussing with your doctor.”
The ABCs of ED
Even though it gets a good laugh as the subject of “Saturday Night Live” skits, erectile dysfunction (ED) is a problem that most men don’t want to admit. It’s not just an issue of male vanity: ED is often a warning sign of more serious health problems. ED can be due to various underlying issues, including low testosterone, high blood pressure, diabetes and stress.
“Unfortunately, many men hate to admit it and so these issues can go unaddressed,” says Dr. Janasek. “Choosing to ignore it can only worsen the situation. Then you’re talking about dealing with marital issues, depression and low self-esteem. Ignoring the problem is not a solution.”
Five ways a man can prevent health problems
- Stop smoking. Cigarettes increase the risk of not only heart disease but also lung, pancreatic and bladder cancer
- See a physician regularly
- Get regular screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, prostate cancer and coronary artery disease, especially if there’s a family history of these diseases
- Eat a balanced diet with a mix of fruits, vegetables and lean protein
- Exercise regularly
To learn more about Dr. Janasek and the Banner Health Center in Loveland, please visit www.BannerHealth.com/HealthCenterLoveland. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Janasek, please call (970) 619-3999, or find other Banner Health physicians.