Top 10 Health Risks Faced by Men
1-in-3 men have some form of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association. An estimated 2.8 million men experience stroke each year and hypertension is common in younger men. Routine check-ups are important to monitor heart health.
More men are diagnosed with lung cancer each year than in the past, according to the American Lung Association. Occupational hazards such as asbestos exposure contribute to this risk, but smoking remains the leading cause of lung cancer.
Men experience higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations than women, according to the CDC. Drinking alcohol increases risk for mouth, throat, esophagus, liver and colon cancers. It also interferes with testicular function and hormone production.
Depression and Suicide
Men experience depression differently than women, reporting symptoms of fatigue and irritability more often. They are also less likely to acknowledge the condition and seek help. Although women are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to die by suicide.
Unintentional Injuries and Accidents
Unintentional injuries were the third leading cause of death for men in 2009, behind heart disease and cancer, according to the CDC. Unintentional injuries accounted for 6.2% of deaths in men vs. 3.5% in women.
Diabetes presents a unique set of complications for men, including greater risk for sexual impotence, and lower testosterone levels which can lead to depression and anxiety. Untreated diabetes also contributes to nerve and kidney damage, heart disease and stroke and vision problem.
Men aged older than 50 years are at highest risk for developing skin cancer – more than twice as likely as women, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. This higher risk is likely attributable to more frequent sun exposure and fewer visits to the doctor.
Cases of new HIV infections are on the rise among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, CDC data indicate. In 2009, 61% of all new HIV infections were attributable to same-sex activity and 69% were attributable to men aged 13 to 29 years.
Influenza and Pneumonia
Other men’s health issues, including COPD, diabetes, AIDS and cancer make men more susceptible to influenza and pneumonia. The American Lung Association currently recommends influenza and pneumococcal vaccination for men aged older than 65 years.
Higher levels of alcohol and tobacco use put men at risk for liver disease, such as cirrhosis and alcoholic liver disease. Men who have sex with men are at increased risk for viral hepatitis B, and should be screened accordingly.
Although the life expectancy gap between men and women has been shrinking, several factors still work against men’s health –- particularly, higher rates of smoking and drinking than women and the tendency not to seek help.
Fortunately, many of the top men's health risks can be prevented or treated if diagnosed early. This slideshow covers the top 10 health risks for men.