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Health & Safety

A Resources Guide To Men's Health

Healthy ManLife expectancy for men is rising but still lags behind that of women. Men can live a longer, healthier life by knowing the top threats to their health and taking steps to prevent these conditions. Seeing a doctor before problems arise can help men take charge of their health and avoid or minimize disease and injury. Routine tests, such as cholesterol tests or blood sugar screenings, can warn men that they are at risk for heart disease or type II diabetes before the onset of symptoms and allow them to make changes to their diet, exercise, and medication to control or prevent the disease. Other screenings, such as prostate exams and colonoscopies, can catch potentially cancerous growths in their early stages. The top health threats to men include heart disease, cancer (particularly lung, prostate, and colorectal cancers), injuries, stroke, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, type II diabetes, flu, suicide, kidney disease, and Alzheimer's disease.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of death among men. Men's risk of heart disease rises after age 40 and increases if close family members had heart attacks before age 50. Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and chronic kidney disease are some risk factors for heart disease. Heart disease includes coronary artery disease, in which the blood vessels that lead to the heart are blocked or narrowed, which leads to heart attacks. Some men have symptoms of heart disease, such as angina (pain or discomfort in the chest), shortness of breath, and fatigue, while others do not experience any symptoms. If the heart can no longer pump enough blood to the body, congestive heart failure occurs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, swelling, weight gain, irregular pulse, and fatigue, although some men do not experience any symptoms. Heart disease can be prevented or treated with changes to diet, such as following a low-sodium and low-fat diet, exercise, and with medications.

  • Heart Disease: Includes information on blood pressure, cholesterol, coronary artery disease, heart attacks, heart failure, and other heart and vascular problems.

  • Heart Disease Risks: An overview of heart diseases, treatment, and information on reducing the risk of heart disease.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and a major cause of disability. COPD includes lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis that progress over time and block airflow to and from the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. COPD causes coughing, mucus, shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest discomfort and tightness. COPD progresses slowly and limits patients' ability to do routine activities, such as walking. Lifestyle changes and medication can prevent COPD and mitigate the symptoms, but there is no cure to reverse the effects of the disease.

  • COPD: Symptoms, screening, treatment, and prognosis for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Sexual Health

Sexual health and sexual function concern many men. Sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction are common and their instance increases as men age. These problems are not a normal part of aging and can be treated with medication and other therapies. Other sexual health issues, such as prostate problems, can also be treated to lessen discomfort. Some sexually transmitted infections, such as herpes, gonorrhea, HPV, syphilis, and HIV/AIDS, can be cured, while others can only be treated to lessen their symptoms. Many of these STIs do not produce discernable symptoms or pain in men, making it very important for sexually active men to receive routine STI screenings.

  • Sexual Health: Information on a range of sexual health issues for men.

  • Sexual Function: Facts about sexual function and dysfunction in men.

  • Sexual Health Issues: Information on the male reproductive system, sexual dysfunction, prostate disorders, and penile and testicular disorders.

Colon Cancer

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States and colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer deaths in men. Colon cancer affects the large intestine and rectal cancer affects the last few inches of the colon. These cancers begin as benign polyps, some of which develop into cancerous growths. In many cases, polyps do not produce any symptoms. Doctors recommend that most men receive routine screenings tests, such as colonoscopies, at age 50 and periodically after that. Men with an increased risk of colon cancer, such as family history of cancer, need to begin screening earlier. When polyps are detected during these tests, they can be removed before they become cancerous.

  • Colorectal Cancer Screening: Information on when men need to start colorectal cancer screenings, what the procedure is like, and how to talk to your doctor about getting a screening.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men. Prostate cancer affects the prostate, a walnut-sized gland that produces seminal fluid. The disease generally progresses slowly, but some forms of prostate cancer grow aggressively and spread beyond the prostate. Men should talk to their doctors at between ages 45 and 50 to determine when and if testing for prostate cancer should be done. Screening includes a prostate specific antigen blood test and a digital rectal exam.

  • Prostate Cancer: Prevention, symptoms, treatment, and research on prostate cancer.

Injuries

Unintentional injuries are the third-leading cause of death among men in the United States. Automobile accidents are the most common cause of accidental death among men. Drug overdose, fires, and firearm injuries are other leading causes of accidental death. Among older adults, falls are the number one cause of injury and death. Many of these fatal injuries can be prevented by taking safety precautions. Wearing safety belts, avoiding driving a motor vehicle when under the influence of drugs or alcohol, observing speed limits and traffic laws, and using safety equipment when playing sports can help men avoid potentially deadly injuries.

  • Injury Prevention: Resources on preventing spinal cord and brain injury and bicycle, firearm, motorcycle, roller sport, and water safety information.

Stroke

Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in men in the United States. Stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is reduced or interrupted. The brain is deprived of oxygen and nutrients and brain cells begin to die. Knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke allows for prompt treatment, which is crucial to restoring the brain's blood supply and limiting damage. Stroke can be prevented by managing risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking, through diet, exercise, and medication.

  • Stroke: Types of strokes, prevention of strokes, and treatment.

Type II Diabetes

Type II diabetes causes insulin resistance, which means that the liver, fat, and muscle cells do not respond to insulin correctly. Blood sugar cannot enter cells to be stored as energy, which causes sugar levels to build up in the blood stream, causing hyperglycemia. Type II diabetes is a chronic condition that develops over time. Risk factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history, and obesity. Untreated type II diabetes can cause serious complications, such as cataracts and other eye diseases, vascular disease, kidney disease and failure, nerve damage, and stroke. Diet, exercise, and medication can manage type II diabetes, but there is no cure.

  • Type II Diabetes: Symptoms, treatment, prevention, and risk factors for type II diabetes.

  • Diet and Type II Diabetes: An overview of risk factors for type II diabetes and nutrition resources for prevention and management of the condition.

Flu

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by various influenza viruses. The flu is contagious and can cause mild to severe illness and even death. People with asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, and older adults, are more susceptible to severe flu symptoms and complications. Flu symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, stuffy nose, body ache, fatigue, and headache. Complications from flu include bacterial pneumonia, sinus and ear infections, and dehydration. Flu vaccines are available in September and flu seasons lasts from October to May, with peak activity in January through March.

  • Influenza: Prevention, treatment, vaccination, and how to find flu vaccinations.

Suicide

Suicide is the seventh-leading cause of death among men in the United States. Ninety percent of suicides in the United States are associated with mental illness, which can include drug and alcohol abuse. Fifty percent of people who commit suicide had major depression. Suicide is a preventable cause of death. Knowing the warning signs of suicide may help men recognize the risk of suicide for themselves or a loved one. Warning signs include talking about hurting or killing oneself, hopelessness, uncontrolled rage, reckless behavior, feeling trapped, and thinking there is no reason for living. Suicide prevention hotlines and counselors can help.

  • Suicide: Resources for suicide prevention and mental health services.

  • Suicide Prevention: Suicide risk assessment guide and prevention information. Also includes guides for talking to children about suicide attempts in the family and resources for suicide attempt survivors.

Kidney Disease

The kidneys remove waste products from the blood to cleanse it and remove excess fluids. They regulate blood pressure by maintaining the balance of minerals and salt in the blood. Chronic kidney disease damages the kidneys and decreases their ability to filter waste products from the body. These waste products build up in the blood, causing illness and complications such as anemia, high blood pressure, and nerve damage. Symptoms of kidney disease include swelling of the extremities, shortness of breath, and problems urinating. Untreated kidney disease leads to kidney failure and death. Early screening and medication can help prevent and manage kidney disease.

  • Kidney Disease: Symptoms of kidney disease, tests for kidney disease, and information on kidney disorders.

  • Kidney Disease Overview: Symptoms, treatment, and frequently asked questions about kidney disease.

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive and fatal brain disorder and the tenth-leading cause of death in men in the United States. Alzheimer's disease destroys brain cells and causes severe memory loss. In early stage Alzheimer's disease, patients experience difficult with memory and concentration. In later stage Alzheimer's, patients can no longer go about their daily routine without assistance and may not recognize loved ones. Alzheimer's primarily affects people over age 65, but younger-onset Alzheimer's can affect people as young as 30. There is no cure for Alzheimer's, but medications and other treatments can improve the quality of life for patients with Alzheimer's and slow the symptoms of the disease.

  • Alzheimer's Disease: Basic information on Alzheimer's Disease including warning signs; also includes general information on other dementias.

  • Alzheimer's Disease Overview: Information on the stages and progression of Alzheimer's disease, risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment.

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