Many men do not feel the need to visit a doctor unless there is something that is causing problems that can no longer be ignored. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says men are 33 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year. By the time men see a physician, the window of opportunity to screen for early health problems may already have passed, and now it becomes essential to treat complications of a disease.
Men are at a higher risk for certain health conditions than others. Among the 15 top causes of death, men lead women in all of them, except for Alzheimer’s disease, according to WebMD.
1. Cardiovascular disease: The American Heart Association says more than one in three adult men have a form of cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure is a major concern and stroke affects more than three million men. Changing one’s diet, exercising and getting routine health examinations can go a long way toward preventing the onset of heart disease.
2. Liver disease: High levels of alcohol and tobacco use among men can put them at a risk for diseases of the liver, such as cirrhosis and alcoholic liver disease. Globally, cirrhosis caused more than 1.3 million deaths in 2017, two-thirds of which were men. And experts at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine say hepatitis B and excessive use of alcohol are notoriously high in men, contributing to liver issues. In addition, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is especially prevalent among obese individuals, can contribute to cirrhosis.
3. Respiratory diseases: COPD and other respiratory conditions can lead to life-threatening conditions. The American Lung Association says more men are now being diagnosed with lung cancer than in years past. Smoking remains the leading cause of lung cancer.
4. Depression: Men can experience depression and suicidal thoughts. Researchers at The National Institute of Mental Health estimate that at least six million men in the United States suffer from depressive disorders, including suicidal thoughts, each year. Men may exhibit different symptoms of depression, such as fatigue and irritability, than women. Although more women are likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to die by suicide. Anyone who needs help is urged to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
5. Unintentional injuries: Risky behaviors, such as driving recklessly, can lead to injuries and accidents. In 2016, unintentional injuries were the third most common cause of death in men above the age of 20, according to the CDC.