Contrary to the messages our youth-obsessed country perpetuates on TV and in films, both men and women are incredibly creative, productive, and yes, passionate in their 40s. We hope you knew that already. However, with age comes certain health issues that shouldn't be ignored. But men, generally speaking, don't like to go to the doctor. Some men may even consider going to the doctor as a sign of weakness. To make matters worse, men in our society are encouraged to be macho and stoic when it comes to physical discomfort, which can cause them to ignore symptoms of serious diseases. So guys, it's time to man up and check out these seven health issues men 40 or older need to be aware of and discuss them with a trusted physician. Your loved ones will be glad you did!
- As you get older, your blood vessels become stiffer, and your blood pressure goes up. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can lead to serious health problems including stroke, kidney disease, and heart failure. Fortunately, there are many ways to monitor your blood pressure outside of your doctor's office, including an easy-to-use iPhone app. And there are several simple and enjoyable preventive measures you can take to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, including exercise, eating healthy, and meditation.
- Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, sometimes called adult-onset diabetes, is most common in people over the age of 40. This type of diabetes can lead to kidney or eye problems. People with African-American, Hispanic or Latino, Native American, and certain Asian and Pacific Island heritage are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It's important to have your doctor test your blood sugar to diagnose diabetes if you are experiencing its symptoms, including increased thirst and hunger or frequent urination, or if there is a history of diabetes or obesity in your family.
- Hypercholesterolemia or high cholesterol can lead to the hardening of arteries, heart disease, and even stroke. It is more commonly diagnosed in men under the age of 55, but its risks increase with age. Since high cholesterol is often symptomless, have your doctor test your blood regularly. Good dietary habits and exercise are great preventive measures you can take toward maintaining a healthy
level of cholesterol.
- The National Institute of Mental Health reports that more than 6 million men have depression each year.
Symptoms of depressionare often erroneously and derogatorily described as evidence of a "mid-life crisis," rather than indicators of a serious health issue. Men suffering from undiagnosed depression may exhibit clichéd "male" behavior, including anger and aggression, and engage in alcohol and drug abuse. Fortunately, once properly diagnosed, depression can be treated through talk-therapy, mediation, and even acupuncture, before turning to prescription drugs.
- The number of new lung cancer cases has dropped steadily since the 1980s, no doubt due in part to the Surgeon General's 1964 report on smoking and health. But lung cancer is still the leading cancer killer in both men and women, more than prostate, colon, and breast cancer combined! A small number of people who don't smoke get lung cancer. But experts agree that smoking, a habit that can be harder to kick than heroin, is a leading cause of lung cancer. So if you smoke, try to quit. Will it be easy? No. But your body and your loved ones will thank you in the end.
- After lung cancer,
prostate canceris the leading cause of cancer death among men. However, there is increased awareness of the importance of discussing testing for prostate cancer with your doctor. The two commonly used tests for early detection of prostate cancer, a blood test and rectal exam, are helpful but not absolutely conclusive. Talk to your doctor about your family's health history, as well as any symptoms you may be experiencing, including trouble urinating, swelling in your legs, and discomfort in your pelvic area, to determine if further testing is necessary to screen for prostate cancer.
- Men can experience varying degrees of impotence or erectile dysfunction as they get older. Many of the health issues we discussed can contribute to impotence, including unmanaged diabetes, obesity, smoking, substance abuse, and cardiovascular disease. And addressing these health issues, with exercise and a better diet, can help you in the bedroom. If you are experiencing impotence, before you take those Viagra ads soundtracked by blues guitar too much to heart, talk with your doctor in detail about your health and lifestyle. There may be a simple, drug-free solution to the issue.