Men have shorter life expectancies than women. Men are at higher risk of certain diseases as compared to women attributing to their lifestyle, habits, genetic factors, work patterns, gender related behaviours.
Here are top 5 health risks for men –
1. Heart Diseases
Heart diseases which are also known as cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the number 1 killer worldwide and accounts for 1 out of 4 deaths in males. Coronary artery disease (CAD) develops when arteries that supply blood to the heart muscles become hardened and narrowed which reduces blood flow and therefore oxygen to the heart leading to heart attack.
Most of the risk factors for heart diseases are modifiable and thus a heart attack is preventable to the larger extent if appropriate lifestyle and dietary modifications are brought about.
Prevention includes avoidance of excessive smoking and alcohol consumption, blood pressure control, maintaining appropriate blood sugar level, keeping a check on cholesterol levels, doing physical activity especially cardio activities for at least 30 minutes for 5 days a week, weight control.
Accidents cannot be called as a “health risk “and certainly not a gender specific health risk yet many men die in big numbers every year due to road accidents, injuries due to fall and fire accidents. According to a report in Economic times in 2018 – In India, more than 150,000 people are killed each year only in traffic accidents.
Prevention includes avoidance of speaking or texting on mobile phone while driving, avoiding speeding, avoiding drunk and driving.
Try to avoid falls by regular exercises which would improve body’s strength and balance, have regular eye check-ups and improve lighting of your surroundings. To ensure fire safety – install smoke alarms, check safety of heating units and cooking units, electrical units and appliances.
Most common forms of cancers in men are cancers of lung, liver, prostrate and intestine.
Men after the age of 40, must get checked on regular basis for prostate cancer. Commonly used household chemicals and cosmetics contain cancer-causing compounds. Apart from genetic factors, it is estimated that up to 20% of cancer cases can be linked to environmental exposure of toxins like tobacco, alcohol, air pollution, food chemicals and diets rich in meat and low in vegetables.
Prevention includes avoidance of risk factors, regular screening and check-ups for cancer and its early symptoms, and early detection in high risk individuals.
4. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
It is the leading cause of death among males; risk factors include smoking (both active and passive) and air pollution. This disease can also be a result of professional hazard for those working in mining or stone quarries.
For prevention – cessation of smoking, lessening exposure to environmental pollution, increase in ventilation and fresh air by opening windows at home and workplace, using portable air cleaners, minimise exposure to workplace chemicals and industrial pollutants will help to mitigate the risk of COPD.
5. Cerebrovascular accident or stroke
A cerebrovascular accident occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is interrupted by either a blood clot creating blockage in an artery or rupture of blood vessel in the brain. Brain cells begin to deteriorate, and brain damage occurs. This condition leads to loss of speech, movement and memory.
Preventable risk factors of stroke include hypertension, stress, anxiety, tobacco consumption, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, excessive alcohol, obesity, physical inactivity, drug abuse.
Finally, it can be concluded that many of these risks to life and health in men are preventable by adopting healthy lifestyle and habits and with efforts to maintain physical fitness and mental peace.
Wishing you a very Happy and Healthy Life. Take care
Contributed by – Dr. Parag Sharma, M.D Director at Aarogya hospital, Hapur