Our Expert Explains What They Are and What to Do About Them
When we’re young, most of us don’t worry much about our health – men even less than women. But starting in our late 30s, some health concerns start nagging at us. Or we notice our friends grappling with health problems.
Major health concerns vary by age, says Cleveland Clinic preventive medicine expert Raul Seballos, MD. “Men in their 60s worry more about prostate cancer, for example, while men in their 50s are more concerned about heart disease or ED (erectile dysfunction),” he notes.
Here are the major health concerns for men, along with tips for prevention:
- Prostate cancer. Schedule a prostate screening, including a simple blood test of PSA levels, every year starting at age 50. If your father or brothers developed prostate cancer early or if you are African-American, start screening at age 40 or 45. Fortunately, prostate cancer is highly curable when caught early.
- Heart disease/high blood pressure/high cholesterol. If heart disease runs in your family or if your blood pressure or cholesterol levels are high, ask your doctor about taking medications to control blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and whether a daily aspirin might help.
- Erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction or ED is very common, especially after prostate removal. Urologists offer many effective treatments for ED, starting with medications.
- Weight management as we age. Eating smaller portions, healthier food and exercising become increasingly important as our metabolisms slow down. This helps prevent type 2 diabetes, arthritis and other weight-related problems.
- Diabetes. Nearly 60 million Americans have pre-diabetes (elevated blood sugar), the precursor to type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and loss of limb. Studies now prove that a healthier diet and increased activity can restore normal blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes. It’s critical to control weight, cholesterol and blood pressure, and quit smoking as well.
- Stroke. Call 9-1-1 if someone develops weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg(s), confusion, speech or comprehension problems, vision loss, dizziness, or difficulty with walking, balance or coordination. These are early warning signs of stroke, and immediate treatment can be lifesaving.