Men are great caretakers. Whether it’s the home, the lawn or their family, they tend to go above and beyond to ensure that the important things in life are well cared for. There seems to be one exception, however. Their own health.
When it comes to health-related issues, men are more likely to put off seeing the doctor. That includes seeing the doctor for routine checkups as well as more worrisome issues like lower back pain or joint stiffness. Men are also less likely to view themselves as being vulnerable to sickness or injury.
While we are all human and eventually will face some type of unfavorable health condition, there are many diseases that can be prevented. Men should be happy to hear this since they don’t like to find themselves at the doctor!
Common Health Issues Men Can Avoid
Let’s discuss some of the most common health issues that affect men and how they can be prevented.
Many wives and girlfriends complain of their husbands or boyfriends snoring at night and keeping them up. While snoring can be benign, it can also be a sign of an underlying condition called sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes you to stop and start breathing during the night. It can increase your chances of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Men have a higher risk of sleep apnea, so it’s important to take any severe snoring episodes seriously.
Indications of sleep apnea include:
- Scratchy throat or head-ache in the morning
- Waking up repeatedly throughout the night
- Waking up choking or gasping for air
- Restless sleeps
- Never feeling well-rested
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent the condition. Losing weight is one of the best preventative measures, so it’s important for men to exercise and eat a healthy diet. This will help reduce the risk of other health conditions as well. Men should also avoid alcohol and cigarette smoking, not take sleep medication and sleep on their sides.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the #1 cancer in men over the age of 50. While men typically aren’t the ones to be sunbathing, they are more likely than women to spend time outdoors doing yard work, playing sports or relaxing (i.e., fishing, boating, golf). Some suggest that it may be possible that men’s skin is more sensitive than women’s.
Some of the risks of skin cancer can’t be avoided, such as having fair skin or having a lot of moles. But other risks can be prevented or avoided altogether. Men should practice healthy sun habits, including the following:
- Wear sunscreen every day
- Reduce outdoor time during peak hours (10am-4pm)
- Wear hats, sunglasses and tightly knit clothing
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men in the US, according to the CDC. As inevitable as heart disease can feel at times, there are many steps that men can take to reduce the chance of developing the condition.
Weight loss is one of the best preventative measures, and it’s never too late to start exercising and eating nutritious meals. Quitting smoking is another important factor that can significantly reduce the chances of developing heart problems. Other steps that men can take to safeguard their health include managing their cholesterol and blood pressure.
The good news is that the steps that are taken to reduce the onset of heart disease also prevent other serious health conditions such as diabetes and certain cancers.
Some foods tend to be more attractive to men such as steaks, wings and beer. The trouble is that many of the foods included on a “guy’s list” also trigger the symptoms of GERD. This condition causes heartburn and acid reflux because it causes stomach acid to be pushed back up into the throat. More than uncomfortable, GERD can also cause serious side effects like damage to the esophageal tissue.
Aside from cutting back on spicy and greasy foods, men with GERD should aim to lose weight. GERD is often worse in people who are overweight or obese. Overeating can make symptoms worse, so it’s best to eat slow and in smaller quantities if eating something spicy or fatty. Smoking can prevent the esophageal sphincter from working properly, so it’s ideal to quit smoking if diagnosed with GERD.
How Men Can Be Their Own Doctors
It’s clear that men aren’t quick to visit the guy in the white coat, but they should be more open to taking charge of their health. Not everything deserves a trip to the doctor, but that doesn’t mean that men should overlook their health just because they look and/or feel okay. By eating healthy meals, exercising, cutting out smoking and alcohol and wearing sunscreen each day, some men may really be able to keep themselves out of the hot seat!
Chief Operating Officer, The Compounding Pharmacy of America
Matthew Poteet, Pharm.D. graduated with Honors from Lee University with a Bachelors of Science in Biological Science. After his undergraduate training, he completed the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy, graduating in 2004. Dr. Poteet has spent much of his pharmacy career on staff at two of the most prestigious academic teaching hospitals in the Southeast; Emory University in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. At these institutions he received extensive experience and training in sterile products compounding.
He returned home to East Tennessee in 2010, where he has held the position of Pharmacy Director at two sterile products pharmacies in Knoxville. Matthew lives in Knoxville with his wife, Chris. Dr. Poteet is Tennessee’s first Board Certified Anti-Aging Pharmacist by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.