On The Table

A collection of knowledge-based articles to inspire overall wellness.

The Top 10 Risks to Men's Health

Statistically speaking, women live longer than men around the world. Find out the health risks men may face within their lifetime and how to improve such statistics.

The Top 10 Risks to Men's Health

Statistically speaking, women live longer than men around the world.

The World Health Organization reports the gap between the sexes is 4.4 years, which is based on the most recent 2019 data.

While genetics may come into play, men be shaving off years of life based on poor lifestyle choices, risky behaviors, and other factors.

But by shining light on common health issues, the gap of such men's health statistics may shorten and improve.

What You Should Know About Men's Health Issues

Below identifies and details health risks men may face within their lifetime. These include:

1. Heart Disease

2. Male-Specific Cancers

3. Type 2 Diabetes

4. Osteoporosis

5. Depression & Suicide

6. Accidental Injuries

7. Stroke

8. Lung Disease

9. Flu & Pneumonia

10. Chronic Liver Disease

1. Heart Disease

The term heart disease is an overarching term referring to several types of heart conditions. These include coronary artery disease (CAD), heart attack, and heart failure.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of men in the United States. It accounted for almost 348,000 deaths in men in 2017, or 1 in every 4 males!

Health risks for heart disease include high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity. An unhealthy diet, physical activity, smoking, and excessive alcohol use also increase heart disease risk. That being said, making lifestyle changes is key for reducing heart disease risk.

2. Male-Specific Cancer

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in men, accounting for about 23 percent of deaths. Male-specific cancers include:

• Prostate cancer: Second to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. The American Cancer Society estimates about 164,690 new cases and 29,430 deaths of prostate cancer for the year 2018.

• Testicular cancer: About 1 of every 250 males will develop testicular cancer at some point during their lifetime. The average age of testicular cancer is 33.

• Colorectal cancer: Men are at greater risk of developing colorectal cancer than women. The American Cancer Society reports 1 in 22 men will develop colorectal cancer in their lifetime. This is slighter higher than a 1 in 24 risk for women.

3. Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition in which glucose from carbohydrates are unable to be utilized by the body for energy. Type 2 diabetes is mostly related to insulin resistance, a condition in which cells do not use insulin effectively, and is the most common form.

Diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older adults, with the chances of having diabetes increases after age 45. Men also tend to be at greater risk of diabetes, which may be due to them often storing more fat in the abdominal region.

Early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of serious complications, including the skin, eyes, nerves, kidneys, and heart. Men with diabetes are also at greater risk of erectile dysfunction.

4. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become weak and brittle. This increases the risk of fractures, falls, and more severe injuries from them.

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), 1 in 5 men aged over 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures worldwide. What's more, the overall mortality is about 20 percent in the first 12 months after hip fracture and is a higher risk in men than women.

Preventative measures to offset osteoporosis risk include adequate calcium and vitamin D intake. Weight-bearing activities, reduced alcohol intake, and smoking cessation can also help.

5. Depression & Suicide

Depression is a mental health disorder described by a persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities. Men and women can both experience depression, though symptoms tend to present differently.

Men may appear more angry and aggressive rather than sad, which can make depression seem unlikely. Male depression often goes undiagnosed and can lead to devastating outcomes, suicide included.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports suicide is the leading cause of death in the U.S. And in 2017, men died by suicide over 3.5 times more often than women. And males accounted for almost 70 percent of suicide deaths.

Seeking out professional guidance is advised for proper treatment and management of depressive feelings and symptoms.

6. Accidental Injuries

Injury is a leading cause of premature death, especially among men. The disparity between genders may be related to having a daredevil attitude and working more dangerous jobs.

Common causes of unintentional death include motor vehicle crashes, drowning, falls, fire and burns.

7. Stroke

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, which deprives brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. And within a matter of minutes, brain cells start to die.

The CDC reports that stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in men, killing almost the same number of men each year as prostate cancer and Alzheimer's disease combined.

Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability among American men as well. In addition, men have strokes at younger ages than women.

But 80 percent of strokes are preventable, particularly when making lifestyle changes.

8. Lung Disease

Lung disease broadly refers to disorders that affects the lungs.

One of the most common threats in men is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which causes a blockage of airflow. This makes breathing difficult and can be very dangerous.

COPD can increase the risk of lung cancer. While prostate cancer is more common, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. It can occur at any age, though is mainly occurs in older people.

Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of COPD and lung cancer. Secondhand smoke exposure, radon, and family history are among other risk factors for lung disease.

9. Flu & Pneumonia

The flu and pneumonia are leading causes of health and death risks in men. Compared to women, men are 25 percent more likely to die from these diseases according to the American Lung Association.

Risks of each increase if men have a compromised immune system. This may be caused by cancer, lung disease, and diabetes.

Getting the flu shot and pneumococcal vaccination, two separate shots, is recommended.

10. Chronic Liver Disease

The liver helps the body digest food, absorb nutrients, and rid toxic substances. That being said, excess alcohol and smoking are common culprits of liver disease.

Men have an increased likelihood of developing liver disease, likely due to higher alcohol and tobacco use.

Men's Health and Aging

Aging is a fixed factor that can increase the risk of several health issues such as osteoporosis. 

But there is good news! Men also have the power to own health by taking preventative measures throughout their entire life. Besides, it is never too late to make healthier decisions!

But first and foremost, stay in the know of current health status and visit the doctor. Keep on top of shots, screenings, and tests. These may include:

• Flu and pneumococcal vaccines

• Blood pressure and blood sugar screenings

• Prostate specific antigen (PSA) tests

• Colon cancer screenings, including colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies, and stool tests

• Bone density tests

Also discuss lifestyle habits and use these tips to improve health:

• Eat a healthy diet: Incorporate nutrient-rich foods in the diet, including whole grains, fruits and veggies, lean and plant-based proteins, and healthy fat sources.

• Exercise regularly: Aim for at least 150 minutes of cardio and two strength training sessions per week.

• Drink alcohol in moderation: Men are encouraged to consume no more than two drinks per day.

• Manage stress: Instead of turning to food, cigarettes, and alcohol, look to positive coping techniques. This may include exercising, hiking, meditating, and listening to music.

• Sleep: The National Sleep Foundation encourages adults to sleep between seven to nine hours on a nightly basis.

• Drink more water: The adequate intake (AI) for men is 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluid each day. Make water your drink of choice than other routine options, including soda, energy and sports drinks.